Transparent does NOT mean OPEN or ACCESSIBLE

So had an interesting discussion with Gina Cooper at Transparency Camp West yesterday that I thought I should post.

She was getting a bit frustrated at people’s misuse of vocabulary and I have to agree with her.  People were throwing around terms like Govt2.0, egovt, transparent govt, opengov as all meaning the same thing.  They don’t.

I guess my layman style definitions would be:

Govt 2.0 – uses social media aspects which may or may not be transparent.  I can easily create a walled off garden that only a certain group of govt can use and call it govt 2.0

E-Gov – gosh this has been in existence for a long time.  it is basically moving govt from paper to electronic documentation and optimization on efficiency.   Probably some of the leaders are United Arab Emeritus and Singapore which I do not view as very open or transparent government but they are efficient!

Transparent Govt – basically show me everything. give me all the raw data etc.  Okay this is nifty BUT can involve information overload.  My best story in regards to this is a rather loud argument I had with an IRS employee at a recent security conference.  He argued that the bidding process for contracts with the IRS is completely transparent.  You only have to gather information and documents from 15+ sites (scattered at different levels) to create a bid.  But the whole process is there for anyone smart enough to figure it out.  He said it was on purpose to filter out the “less committed” ones.  I had to admit… it is transparent… just not accessible.

OpenGov – this is accessible government.  I believe it should be built upon transparent govt so that we can fact check it.  but if we want normal citizen engagement and not just us geeks… this is the direction we will need to go.  The biggest problem here?  METRICS and stakeholders. (see stakeholders in govt post)  This is my goal in regards to Citability.  I like to think it achieves those goals.  Now if we can just put it to the test!

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