1) Impressive nonprofit transparency around technology failures. It might seem odd for us to highlight technology failures when we’re hoping to make CDP and its technology useful to nonprofits, but the transparency demonstrated by these nonprofits talking openly about their mistakes is precisely the kind of transparency we hope to support. If nonprofits, or any other organization, is going to share more of their data with the public, they have to be willing to share the bad with the good, all in the hope of actually doing better.
2) I was really surprised to find out the U.S. Census doesn’t ask about religion. It’s a sensitive subject, but is it really more sensitive than race and ethnicity, which the U.S. Census asks about quite openly? The article goes through why having a better count of different religions could be useful to a lot of people. What are other things we’re afraid to count, and how might that be holding us back from important knowledge?
3) How long should we protect people’s privacy around their medical history? HHS proposes to remove protections that prevent researchers and archivists from accessing medical records for people who have been dead for 50 years; CDT thinks this is a bad idea. Is there a way that this information can be made available without revealing individual identity? That’s the essential problem the datatrust is trying to solve.
4) It may be counterintuitive, but open data can foster industry and business. Clay Johnson, formerly at the Sunlight Foundation, writes about how weather data, collected by the U.S. government, became open data, thereby creating a whole new industry around weather prediction. As he points out, though, that $1.5 billion industry is now not that excited by the National Weather Service expanding into providing data directly to citizens.
We at CDP have been talking about how the datatrust might change the business of data. We think that it could enable all kinds of new business and new services, but it will likely change how data is bought and sold. Already, the business of buying and selling data has changed so much in the past 10 years. Exciting years ahead.