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Data.gov To Launch In May

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the when-did-brent-spiner-get-elected dept.

Government 111

An anonymous reader writes "In late May, Data.gov will launch, in what US CIO Vivek Kundra calls an attempt to ensure that all government data 'that is not restricted for national security reasons can be made public' through data feeds. This appears to be a tremendous expansion on (and an official form of) third-party products like the Sunlight Labs API. Of course, it is still a far cry from 'open sourcing' the actual decision-making processes of government. Wired has launched a wiki for calling attention to datasets that should be shared as part of the Data.gov plan, and an article on O'Reilly discusses the importance of making this information easily accessible."

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111 comments

First thing I want to get data on (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27466431)

First thing I want to get data on: Obama's birth certificate _>

Re:First thing I want to get data on (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27466613)

First thing I want to get data on: Obama's birth certificate

Good. If the data says he was born in Hawaii, will you believe it?

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1, Informative)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 5 years ago | (#27467147)

No.

As Colbert (as in ISS module name) pointed out, the hawaiian birth certificate is very likely fake as it is not etched on a coconut.

And knowing current state of US intelligence services, one never can be sure that somebody actually run a background check before he got elected.

Don't give a rat's ass (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#27469269)

where Obama was born. His mother was a citizen of the United States. Nothing is more natural than for an American woman to give birth to an American baby. There is no doubt that Obama's mother was a citizen. The residency requirements cited by the (mostly) republicans are bullshit, plain and simple. The law was poorly written, and wrong to boot.

    I still don't know how much, or how little, I like Obama. But, if I end up detesting the man as much as I detest both Clinton and Bush, IT WILL NOT BE because he is (black, foreign, noncitizen, related to moslems, just plain funny looking - take your pick out of these, or fill in your own version of bigotry).

Everyone accepted McCain's citizenship, despite being born outside the country. To me, there is little if any difference between McCain's birth, and Obama's.

This written by a veteran, who WANTED to believe in McCain, but ultimately voted for Obama. If the republican party manages to find, and get behind, a genuine conservative, I might vote republican next time. But, NO MORE NEOCONS!! Every neocon in the country could drop dead today, and I wouldn't miss a one of them.

Re:Don't give a rat's ass (1)

Hubbell (850646) | about 5 years ago | (#27470117)

He was using an indonesian passport in the 80's (iirc it was the 80's)
You cannot hold citizenship in another country (which is required to have a passport from there) and still be a US citizen except in VERY definitive circumstances such as israeli parents in the US or some such. He most certainly revoked his US citizenship after turning 18, and there's no record of him getting it back.

Re:Don't give a rat's ass (3, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 5 years ago | (#27470227)

Yes you can, it's called Dual Citizenship [wikipedia.org] and is possible with many nations. I think the whole "Obama is really this guy with a different name and he's not an American citizen" smacks of cheap tactics on whatever side didn't want him elected.

Is it possible? Yes. Any chance in hell of proving it to the point that he'll be removed from office? No.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (-1, Troll)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#27466759)

First thing I want to get data on: Obama's birth certificate _>

It's too bad this was modded as Troll. Here's the mod's thought process: "I really like Obama and that guy seems to be saying something that doesn't promote Obama. Clearly he must be a troll!" That's sort of like saying that if you disagree with Obama on a political issue, it could only be because he is black and you are racist. In the absence of any other reason to believe that this is a deliberate troll, it's equally childish

I'll explain this birth certificate controversy. It's really simple and boils down to only two things:

The first is an issue of equality. If an employer about to hire us required a specific document from any of us, and we furnished anything other than that specific document, that employer would not hire us. Obama is asked for his birth certificate and he provided a somewhat different document (a type of card) that is easier to falsify and was not the specific document requested. He gets a pass on this because no one has the backbone to say "this is a requirement and you aren't going anywhere until you fulfill it". That is the crux of this controversy. None of the rest of us would be able to do that, which is completely backwards considering how important the "job" of the President is compared to most other jobs. If anything, he should have to deal with a stricter standard. It's backwards and no one does anything about it and this is accepted as normal, which frankly is part of the mindfuck that goes along with most media controversies.

The second issue is that the real birth certificate should not be too much to ask. We are offering him one of the most powerful offices on the planet and all we ask at this point is that he furnish a basic document that everyone has. That just doesn't sound like something that should be a problem for Obama. I don't understand why he would let this continue to be an issue when the remedy is so simple. Lots of controversies are based on opinion or belief and therefore cannot be resolved. This one can be resolved once and for all with a single piece of evidence. I cannot think of an honest reason why someone would refuse to do so.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (0, Troll)

palindrome (34830) | about 5 years ago | (#27466837)

First thing I want to get data on: Obama's birth certificate _>

It's too bad this was modded as Troll. Here's the mod's thought process: "I really like Obama and that guy seems to be saying something that doesn't promote Obama. Clearly he must be a troll!" That's sort of like saying that if you disagree with Obama on a political issue, it could only be because he is black and you are racist.

How many presidents are asked to provide a birth certificate for the public?

This is not a political issue, it's pointless stirring.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (0, Troll)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#27466941)

First thing I want to get data on: Obama's birth certificate _>

It's too bad this was modded as Troll. Here's the mod's thought process: "I really like Obama and that guy seems to be saying something that doesn't promote Obama. Clearly he must be a troll!" That's sort of like saying that if you disagree with Obama on a political issue, it could only be because he is black and you are racist.

How many presidents are asked to provide a birth certificate for the public?

This is not a political issue, it's pointless stirring.

I see that the number of Presidents who may have been born outside the United States and about which there is some doubt, however small, is approximately equal to the number of Presidents who are being asked to provide a birth certificate. That is, he's the only one of whom I know. I still don't see what's unreasonable about this. If it's pointless stirring it's because the birth certificate wasn't provided a long time ago to put an end to it.

Normally privacy would be my main concern, along with the concern of not validating potentially dishonest requests ("stirring" as you call it). However, this man wants a public office. He should therefore be an open book, at least as far as basic things like his place of birth are concerned. Therefore, I consider those two concerns to be negligible in his case and in the case of anyone who wants political power.

I've always felt that anyone who wants to have power over us needs to be held to some very strict standards. That's especially true when they break a law that none of us would get away with breaking but also true in terms of full disclosure. If that is too much to ask of a person, then that person is unfit to hold political power.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Insightful)

palindrome (34830) | about 5 years ago | (#27467031)

Except there isn't any doubt is there? Avoiding as much politics as I can here, there were quite a lot of people who didn't want Obama to be President, the Republican Party, for instance. If he were not born in America then there would be proof and I'm sure that there would be those in the Republican party who could get hold of such evidence.

Manufactured controversy is pointless stirring. Are there not enough valid points to be argued over without squandering time on this non-issue? (yes I understand the irony of wasting time on pointing out it's a waste of time).

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#27467325)

As someone who traditionally votes Republican, I still totally agree with you. You say 'avoiding politics' but I think ignoring it would be bad in this situation. Politics actually prove it to be a non-issue.

Politicians are some of the most back stabbing corrupt greedy assholes on the planet, regardless of party. If there was proof that he did something wrong, ONE of them would have found it, even someone in his own party, JUST to further themselves.

It takes about 2 days for a politician to find proof of someone else's wrong doing. It also takes about 2 minutes for them to 'not recall' all the times they themselves were the in the wrong.

If there really was something to Obama's birth certificate, John McCain would have told the world immediately. The only reason he wouldn't have told the world is because Hillary Clinton beat him to the punch.

As far as wasting time ... well, we gotta have something to comment on, don't we?

Mod parent up "insightful" (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 5 years ago | (#27468201)

If there really was something to Obama's birth certificate, John McCain would have told the world immediately. The only reason he wouldn't have told the world is because Hillary Clinton beat him to the punch.

As far as wasting time ... well, we gotta have something to comment on, don't we?

And I don't often say this of avowed republicans ;-)

Re:First thing I want to get data on (0, Troll)

Aczlan (636310) | about 5 years ago | (#27466977)

How many presidents are asked to provide a birth certificate for the public?

This is not a political issue, it's pointless stirring.

How many have been asked to provide it? as the GP said, if he were to provide it (which would probably take all of 15 minutes) it would shut up all those who are currently asking and it would be cheaper than fighting the 10 or so lawsuits that have been started, most (all?) of whom have said that if they can see the Birth Certificate (as opposed to the Certification of Live Birth) they will drop their lawsuits, see here [answers.com] for a details of the differences.

According to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands:

In order to process your application (to verify that you are a genuine native Hawaiian), DHHL utilizes information that is found only on the original Certificate of Live Birth, which is either black or green. This is a more complete record of your birth than the Certification of Live Birth (a computer-generated printout). Submitting the original Certificate of Live Birth will save you time and money since the computer-generated Certification requires additional verification by DHHL.

Aaron Z

Re:First thing I want to get data on (3, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#27467029)

...as the GP said, if he were to provide it (which would probably take all of 15 minutes) it would shut up all those who are currently asking...

You are provably wrong, since he did provide it and numerous people here are still asking for it. I already linked to a copy of it in a reply, and several other people linked to articles verifying it was released.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Insightful)

Aczlan (636310) | about 5 years ago | (#27467357)

As I said, Obama provided a Certification of Live Birth, NOT a Certificate of Live Birth, the difference is that the Certificate of Live Birth "is a more complete record of your birth than the Certification of Live Birth (a computer-generated printout). Submitting the original Certificate of Live Birth will save you time and money since the computer-generated Certification requires additional verification by DHHL" (Source [hawaii.gov]), if the state of HI requests an original Certificate of Live Birth, why shouldn't we be allowed to see it? as I said earlier, it wouldn't take very long and it would be much easier than all these lawsuits.

Aaron Z

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#27468163)

As I said, Obama provided a Certification of Live Birth, NOT a Certificate of Live Birth, the difference...

Yes, but not one that matters. They sued, the courts, asked Hawaii to verify the certificate issued matched their original records and they confirmed that. Then they threw out the case. Several other cases were filed, the judges looked at the evidence and tossed those out too. No matter what is provided nutjobs (such as yourself) continue to field conspiracy theories. Assuming you had the originally issued one in your hands, you'd probably come up with some theory as to how it is an elaborate forgery and all the people who knew him growing up are illuminati agents. Or, like other conspiracy nutjobs, you'd claim his Kenyan dual citizenship somehow nullified it. It doesn't matter. At some point reasonable people stop humoring you and start classifying you as nutjobs and ignoring you. That time was in 2008 after every reasonable person had seen the preponderance of evidence and all the investigative reporters had failed to find anything to support said theories.

Just give it up already, or at least stop being surprised for being modded troll.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

NewbieV (568310) | about 5 years ago | (#27471473)

Sorry, but the DHHL argument is a non-starter.

The DHHL program is a land lease program that native Hawaiian Islanders may participate in.

No one is trying to make the argument that Barack Obama is from native Hawaiian blood - they're just trying to make the correct argument that he was born in Hawaii.

The certificate called the Certification of Live Birth specifies a date, time and location of birth and provides prima facie evidence that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, and therefore qualifies as a natural born citizen who is eligible to hold the office of President.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

Golddess (1361003) | about 5 years ago | (#27469833)

How many presidents are asked to provide a birth certificate for the public?

Given the requirements for being president, I would have suspected all of them, be they male/female, red/orange/yellow/green/blue/indigo/violet or any combination therein, republican/democrat/green/libertarian, etc.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Informative)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 5 years ago | (#27466871)

People who don't want to believe Obama is legitmate won't, no matter what evidence is presented. The stuff you say about his birth certificate is irrelevant, because the document he presented to the press during the campaign is a real, 100% authentic US birth certificate. He did not present "a type of card" as you say. He didn't present anything different from my own birth certificate. All the evidence is there [factcheck.org] if you want to see it, but the truth is you and the OP aren't interested in facts because the facts don't fit with what you want to be the truth.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 5 years ago | (#27467259)

To me foreigner (not US resident) the whole birth certificate show down looked quite silly from the start.

I was surprised that same US citizens complaining on overreaching powers of their intelligence services, fail to understand that CIA starts background check on all involved people right after they declare their intent to run for the office. So that politicians who have something cloudy in their past can bail out from race long before they are actually nominated by parties. AFAIK this is standard for pretty much all branches of office: not only president candidates get screened, all of the officials who hold any kind of responsibility before taking post are checked by CIA. That's actually one of the reasons why such nominations take that long time to proceed.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Interesting)

memorycardfull (1187485) | about 5 years ago | (#27467461)

This IS very interesting and certainly stands to reason, but AFAI Google I can't seem to find any confirmation of this, only speculation. If anyone has a link to factual information on the existence of these checks I would be very curious to see it.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 5 years ago | (#27467671)

I never read anything definitive on the matter either.

Just once that was indirectly confirmed by news media when journalists dug up something on a politician. Government officials commented that intelligence, due to thickness of his biography, simply couldn't finish due background check on him in allotted time before appointment.

The impression I got was that they do background check, but the check isn't something what can actually bar a person from an office.

After election/appointment it is all up to fourth branch of government.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 5 years ago | (#27468713)

Hm... Actually Googling for "politicians background check before appointment" gave for example the link [content4reprint.com].

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

memorycardfull (1187485) | about 5 years ago | (#27471119)

Thanks...close to what I was seeking, but your link concerns background checks on appointed officials. The parent comment referred to CIA background checks on elected officials, specifically Presidential candidates. The commenter asserted that these checks were done prior to the election and were a matter of fact. If this is done, I doubt the CIA would make it public knowledge. It intrigues me because if such checks were really done then what is done with the results during the election if there is something for concern? What would that concern be? Would we know if they found something? Can the CIA take secret action against a candidate during an election? Has it? The idea of secret CIA vetting of candidates during the election process has implications for the democratic process that are fascinating and disconcerting.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27466901)

None of the rest of us would be able to do that, which is completely backwards considering how important the "job" of the President is compared to most other jobs.

None of the rest of us would do what? Substitute an alternate document when asked for our birth certificate? For many people in the world there are no such things. There are also numerous Americans born at home and who have never had a birth certificate, who got two forms of identification without ever providing one because of the various interpersonal relationships involved and who also would not be able to provide such a document.

Unlike the president, most of us could just fabricate one, because nobody is verifying their birth certificate unless they go to work for a casino or some kind of job where you need to be bonded.

Like the president, most any of us could get away with supplying some document which is more or less the same thing if we were desired for the job. If you still think the populace of the nation hires the president, you've got another think coming.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#27466907)

It's too bad this was modded as Troll.

I disagree.

Here's the mod's thought process: "I really like Obama and that guy seems to be saying something that doesn't promote Obama. Clearly he must be a troll!"

No, I suspect the thought process is more like this:"Oh god, another person trying to get replies by posting things that are completely wrong and everyone knows is wrong, but which many people will feel they need to respond to anyway."

I'll explain this birth certificate controversy.

You can't. There is no controversy. There are a bunch of rumors and nonsense and a smear campaign and a bunch of hysterical idiots who either can't do any research or are unwilling to believe despite any evidence presented. He released his birth certificate [fightthesmears.com]. He did it a long time ago, and we still have morons claiming he didn't or that it is a forgery or that a "certificate of live birth" isn't a birth certificate, despite that being what mine says on it. Please spend 30 seconds doing research next time something comes up, instead of 10 minutes writing a completely misinformed rant.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | about 5 years ago | (#27467651)

I do find it highly likely that he is a US Citizen, but there is a difference between a certificate of live birth and a certification of live birth, he provided the later which has less legal qualifications to obtain, for example if the certificate of live birth is destroyed it's still possible to get a certification of live birth. So the claims that he never proved citizenship aren't all that absurd, but really i doubt that he would be president right now if the GOP could have proven he wasn't a citizen.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#27468219)

I do find it highly likely that he is a US Citizen, but there is a difference between a certificate of live birth and a certification of live birth, he provided the later which has less legal qualifications to obtain, for example if the certificate of live birth is destroyed it's still possible to get a certification of live birth.

Except that didn't happen. They went to court in 2008 and Hawaii confirmed it matched the original records they had on file. At this point, any assertion that he is not a US citizen is officially a conspiracy theory, because it requires conspirators in and out of Hawaii to be lying to the public and it requires all the investigative reporters who looked into it to have been duped or in on it.

So the claims that he never proved citizenship aren't all that absurd...

Yeah, I'd say they are pretty absurd. They're not impossible, but they're no more likely than a lot of the "out there" JFK assassination conspiracy theories in terms of evidence and probability.

...but really i doubt that he would be president right now if the GOP could have proven he wasn't a citizen.

It's more than the GOP not having proof. Neither they nor anyone else who did research has found any evidence at all to present or at the very least has not presented that evidence. There just isn't any evidence that would make a reasonable person give credence to these wild theories.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27468263)

So the claims that he never proved citizenship aren't all that absurd, but really i doubt that he would be president right now if the GOP could have proven he wasn't a citizen.

Actually, those claims are completely absurd. The man was born in the US, in Hawaii. Obama has presented a certification - issued by the State government of Hawaii - indicating that he was, in fact, born in Hawaii. The certificate isn't issued based on evidence that he presents, it's based on the records kept by the state - to say that it's obtained with less legal qualification than a normal birth certificate is an attempt to mislead. It's not like a drivers license or passport - it's an official document based on official records.

Of course, that's beside the point; the people who promote such things don't really give a crap about the truth of the matter - t's merely an ongoing effort to delegitimize his presidency.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 5 years ago | (#27468213)

There is no controversy. There are a bunch of rumors and nonsense and a smear campaign and a bunch of hysterical idiots

That's a controversy alright.

Look up controversy in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
A controversy is a dispute, argument, discussion or debate featuring strong disagreements and opposing, contrary, or sharply contrasting opinions about an idea, subject, group or person.

It's manufactured and inconsequential, but it exists.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#27468485)

There is no controversy. There are a bunch of rumors and nonsense and a smear campaign and a bunch of hysterical idiots

That's a controversy alright.

In an actual controversy there are a significant number of people on both sides arguing something. That doesn't seem to be the case here. There seem to be the vast majority of people thinking (like reasonable people do) that he was born in the US. Then there are a few religious nutjobs who keep claiming otherwise on religious talk radio or in conspiracy forums. They're spurred on my some PR people trying to intentionally mislead.

It's manufactured and inconsequential, but it exists.

You could say that, sort of like there is controversy over if the earth is spherical or flat, if we've been to the moon, or if the pentagon is used to contain and control a super-powerful demon.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Insightful)

smidget2k4 (847334) | about 5 years ago | (#27466919)

It is a troll because 1) it was posted to cause stupid fighting no one cares about and 2) is completely off topic.

Seems like a troll to me. Also, it is false, as another poster has pointed out, but that is beside the point. Still a troll.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27466989)

People who continue to promulgate these theories sound like the very sorest of losers. They should be smart enough at this time to realize that it is congress who decides whether Obama stays in office or not. And I simply do not see the most strident republican (or any congressperson for that matter) entertaining taking up this idea in the slightest. Also, it indicates that rational logic is not being used when recognizing the futility of such a pursuit. There came a time when even though they had all the ballots for the 2000 Florida election that it was simply not a tractable process in counting them or determining what the vote was for the number of variables involved (i.g. counting hanging chads or dimples). Many a Republican jumped with glee and hurried to move on, but yet they fail to do so here?? Really, it looks loony at this point hanging on to the birth certificate issue. I put it on the same scale as the "explosives were used to bring down the WTC" nonsense.

I post this not to feed a troll, but in the hopes he will see the error of his ways.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#27467265)

You missed something. He was asked to provide a document that every citizen born in america now days, and at the time of his birth is required to have by law.

The law doesn't say you have to carry it or even have it in your possession at any time, but one HAS to exist if you were born in America during Obama's lifetime.

If he was not born in America, does not have an American birth certificate, but was naturalized because his parent(s) was an American and gave birth abroad for some reason then he can, in fact, NOT be the President.

The president can be any 'natural born citizen of the united state, over the age of 35 years.

Natural born does not mean that it can't be a test tube baby. When that statement was written, test tube babies weren't even in anyones imagination yet. It means they have to be born on US soil.

Personally, I do not think that has ever been enforced, and probably because it hasn't yet really been a good reason not to allow someone to become the president, just because they were born on a vaction in the wrong spot, doesn't make them good for our country.

The founding fathers however had a very valid fear of someone trying to sneak in and subvert the newborn country considering what they had been through.

While it may not matter for Obama, he may not be some evil bastard trying to subvert the goverment for some other country, he should be held to the standards required. Otherwise, when the day comes, and we all know for a fact that some jackass is about to be elected and that he's a fraud ready to damage the country, but precedent is set that we let it happen anyway, then we just become complete hypocrits if we act on it, and morons if we don't. This is why you follow the law always, and change it if you don't feel its right.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#27467349)

I would like to point out that the US Embassy in any give country is considered US Soil.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

will_die (586523) | about 5 years ago | (#27467473)

If you actually have a legal birth certificate depends on the state you were born in. I ran into this when I need to get some federal government paperwork. I gave them a birth certificate I had used many times in the past, and still do, to prove US citizenship and after they did some checking I was told that it was not an official birth certificate it was a birth certificate given by the hospital and had no official standing. If I wanted to an official birth certificate I had write off to my birth state and do some proof of identification to get one.
Now the funny thing about all of this is that I then just used a passport to prove identification and citizenship. Now to renew a passport you need an old passport, and my first passport was probably based on that hospital birth certificate.

Re:First thing I want to get data on (1)

spartacus_prime (861925) | about 5 years ago | (#27468101)

The theory I have heard regarding the birth certificate is that he has it, but isn't going to release it until all the pointless lawsuits dry up.

Basically, his lawyers who are representing him in these suits are getting paid for doing pretty much nothing (as any judge is going to dismiss such a suit as frivolous at best). It's in their interest to keep the birth certificate out of the public eye for as long as possible, so that they make as much money off of this as possible.

My guess is once people stop filing lawsuits about Obama's citizenship, his birth certificate will be made public. So we will not see it until after he leaves office in 2013 or 2017.

Hardfought (2, Interesting)

jthill (303417) | about 5 years ago | (#27466477)

The longer I live, the more Greg Bear's story "Hardfought" bothers me.

Here, it's the "mandate" in the story: iirc, every warship (and they're all warships) is required to carry all of mankind's digital knowledge on board to ensure that everyone has access to facts and reason to back their arguments.

Re:Hardfought (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27466633)

When I hear of something this I personally think of Walter Jon Williams' Aristoi, in which the sum of human knowledge is stored in a vault known as the Hyperlogos. It's allegedly above tampering. I don't want to ruin the story, but they make such a big deal out of how incorruptible it is that you know it's going to figure into the story. Same here; this just seems like a single clearing-house for deception. Still, I suppose it's a step in the right and wrong direction at once...

Re:Hardfought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27466797)

Or, to borrow verbage from Zizek, a wrong step in the right direction.

Re:Hardfought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27467075)

A central store of data tainted or not does not make one bit of difference to humans.

If enough 'researchers' who have 'consensus' taint the pool of data over decades or centuries who can or will challenge this 'wisdom'?

To flip that over "The Big Lie" can be crafted to challenge the 'wisdom' of the ages whether that 'wisdom' is a crafted falsity or sterile truth.

Re:Hardfought (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#27467159)

While I agree with you to some extent, is there anything that could possibly be done to appease the slashdot crowd.

Slashdot screams OPEN IT UP! GIVE US TRANSPARENCY.

And they do.

And slashdot responds: YOU'RE JUST TRYING TO TRICK US!!!!

Some days, you really do just have to take your tin foil hat off if you expect to live a life of something other than fear.

Re:Hardfought (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#27468157)

There is a whole movie about it. It's called "Bubble Boy". (Not a great movie by the way, but your last paragraph is what it ends with.)

Re:Hardfought (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | about 5 years ago | (#27466827)

The longer I live, the more Greg Bear's story "Hardfought" bothers me.

Here, it's the "mandate" in the story: iirc, every warship (and they're all warships) is required to carry all of mankind's digital knowledge on board to ensure that everyone has access to facts and reason to back their arguments.

So, if they had Slashdot in the story, you'd have folks saying, "You didn't read your warship, did you?" or "RTFW: Read The Fucking Warship!" .

Of course, the response would be, "You're a new sailor, aren't you?"

Oh, never mind.

Vivek did a good job with this in DC (4, Interesting)

ZX-3 (745525) | about 5 years ago | (#27466479)

This will also be an extension of what Vivek Kundra implemented in DC:
http://data.octo.dc.gov/ [dc.gov]

Re:Vivek did a good job with this in DC (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 5 years ago | (#27466885)

I am impressed with the data made available there in one location. I have done a lot of work with county criminal complaints mapping [lazylightning.org]; SHP to KML for state, county, and local parks [lazylightning.org]; and restaurant inspection reports [lazylightning.org] for the general area around my home [lazylightning.org] because it's difficult for the average person to get that information in a package that's useful to them.

It's absolutely fucking awesome to see that other areas are taking the time, effort, and dollars to make data available to those who pay for its creation in the first place. If anything, the Federal Government should mandate that all states funnel that data to them for display to the citizens in one place. There is absolutely no reason why data shouldn't be in one consistent format and in one place for us to pull down to aggregate ourselves if we so choose.

I for one welcome our data providing overlords.

Re:Vivek did a good job with this in DC (2, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 5 years ago | (#27469021)

I'm all for government transparency. But people wouldn't need this quite as much if the government wasn't spending as much to begin with.

I'm especially in disagreement about Federal mandates. If people in their states are unhappy with how their states are handling things, it's much easier for them, in theory, to make changes on the state level. The more the federal government gets involved the more states have to tax and spend just to comply with federal mandates.

Ideally, this kind of thing should be done on the municipal level the most. The cities that do it best attract people and incite change in other cities by setting an example. Then the states can provide their own systems for state-level projects that are inline with their residents demands.

As far as government is concerned, the more local the better. If you don't like what your government does on the local level it's much easier to change public opinion or, if that fails, move elsewhere. The broader the jurisdiction becomes, the less able the government is to truly represent people and the less efficient things become. The fed should exist to protect people's rights and freedoms. States and municipalities should be the ones spending according to their residents demands.

Re:Vivek did a good job with this in DC (1)

trawg (308495) | about 5 years ago | (#27472023)

Awesome stuff dude.

I can't believe posts like this don't get more attention from Slashdot-types.

Governments spend squillions of dollars every year collecting all sorts of random data, most of which people will never hear about, let alone even see. This data is used to shape policies.

Knowing the data exists and having it available openly for public perusal (especially when put in more human-readable systems like the ones you've provided) will help people make more informed decisions as to who to vote for as they'll be able to more effectively validate their policies.

e-File for the people? (2, Insightful)

2phar (137027) | about 5 years ago | (#27466499)

How about allowing the people to e-file their taxes directly to their government while they're at it, without having to use a third party.

Re:e-File for the people? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 years ago | (#27466717)

e-file has been free for years

the value that intuit and other companies add is they let you type in your data or import it over the internet and they do all the calculations for you and make up all the forms automatically. they also guarantee accuracy

Re:e-File for the people? (1)

jlarocco (851450) | about 5 years ago | (#27466889)

eFile is free, but you can't do it on the IRS's website. It redirects you to some spam filled third party sites where it's sometimes hard to figure out what's part of the regular tax form filling process and what's an advertisement or for pay service. There's really no reason for it not to be right on the IRS website.

Re:e-File for the people? (2, Insightful)

2phar (137027) | about 5 years ago | (#27467913)

The problem is you are forced to share a lot of personal information with a private third party agent, when it is really only a matter between you and your government. Unless you want to use snail mail of course.

Navigation (4, Insightful)

theArtificial (613980) | about 5 years ago | (#27466503)

Hopefully this will not be like navigating the maddening Library of Congress website.

Re:Navigation (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | about 5 years ago | (#27466755)

It directly reflects how the government works, what else would you expect?

A decade behind the population, complicated as hell, and you are worse off for interacting with it. If anyone asks you: "how does the government work?" simply point them to that site.

Same with:
http://www.usa.gov/ [usa.gov]
http://canada.gc.ca/ [canada.gc.ca]

Re:Navigation (1)

UltraAyla (828879) | about 5 years ago | (#27467053)

amen to that. I once spent an hour talking with a Library of Congress librarian about their catalog, and she showed me how to do some powerful things in it, but I still think it's awful. That power could have been achieved in much better ways.

"Far cry from open-sourcing" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27466517)

Of course, it is still a far cry from 'open sourcing' the actual decision-making processes of government.

We already know the decision-making process.

Politician: I am strongly against X! It is a moral outrage and cannot be signed into law!

Lobbyist: We understand your feelings on this matter. I represent interests that would find X to be very desirable. Those interests have lots and lots of money. Have some! This is just for your campaign, of course.

Politician: Hmm, well... Clearly X is the progressive thing to do. We have an obligation to support X because our progress hinges on it, because of 9/11, because it might protect the children, and because it might stop terrorism. To do otherwise would be unpatriotic! Quick, prepare a press release that makes this sound like it was my idea all along.

And the best part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27466537)

They've signed on Brent Spiner as their spokesperson.

Re:And the best part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27467611)

please mod parent funny :)

Oh boy! (0, Troll)

iminplaya (723125) | about 5 years ago | (#27466637)

Obama's driving a car with 300 million mothers-in-law in the back seat. This will be the sequel to Driving Miss Daisy.

A good idea (1)

freegamegallery (1525101) | about 5 years ago | (#27466667)

That's a pretty cool project. The scale is huge, and I bet will cost hundreds of millions to pull off, but it's a good idea! And I agree with 2phar, why cant I just go to irs.gov to file? Would be nice, however instead I have to use turbotax and the likes!

Re:A good idea (1)

wakingrufus (904726) | about 5 years ago | (#27466687)

I did, in fact, efile on the irs website for free this year. Although i understand that it costs money if you make over a certain amount.
But the service exists.

Re:A good idea (1)

jlarocco (851450) | about 5 years ago | (#27466979)

Where? I've been filling my taxes online for a few years now and I've always been sent to a third party site.

Re:A good idea (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#27467081)

This is why I send paper. The IRS already figures my taxes, there is no good reason that they can't send me their figures, at which point I either agree with them and sign off on them, or I file my own calculations. Using the third party services just panders to stupid idea that they are providing something worthwhile.

Basically, anybody who took the standard deduction last year might as well get pre-filled forms, but the tax industry has better lobbyists than taxpayers do.

Re:A good idea (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | about 5 years ago | (#27466799)

About right on the cost. Can you imagine the infrastructure to support all this data? Unless of course they reference it in place which brings up all sorts of security questions. Knowing how fast the Government works, the data may be obsolete before posting and who says WHAT data gets posted. All data is not relevant data. And will it be posted in a usable format for "slicing and dicing" or will it be PDFs of the data?

Re:A good idea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27466869)

And will it be posted in a usable format for "slicing and dicing" or will it be PDFs of the data?

If you're still having trouble using PDFs you need to update to a Ca. Y2k version of Linux or something -- unless you're talking about scanned images? That would be a crying shame, but in a lot of cases there is no official digital record, either. (That's an even bigger shame.)

Re:A good idea (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | about 5 years ago | (#27467099)

Scanned images of pages to PDFs rather than say a Word or Excel (or compatible) that one could lift the data (i.e numbers) from and run your own analysis. I don't know about your copy of Adobe Reader but mine doesn't do a good job of taking a data table and putting it into a spreadsheet with rows & columns. Perhaps the full-up Adobe does better.

Re:A good idea (1)

afabbro (33948) | about 5 years ago | (#27467153)

And will it be posted in a usable format for "slicing and dicing" or will it be PDFs of the data?

If you're still having trouble using PDFs you need to update to a Ca. Y2k version of Linux or something

Sounds like you're still having trouble differentiating structured versus unstructured data. Budget data in tables or CSV or SQL or whatever is useful. A .PDF of a document where you cannot extract the data into a spreadsheet or database is far less useful.

Re:A good idea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27467299)

A .PDF of a document where you cannot extract the data into a spreadsheet or database is far less useful.

No, you cannot. Given a PDF with a table of numbers in data and not image form, I can get the numbers into a spreadsheet or database. It's a bit cumbersome but doesn't require data entry.

Re:A good idea (1)

WillDraven (760005) | about 5 years ago | (#27468141)

Neat, I didn't know there were tools available to do that. What do you use?

Re:A good idea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#27468299)

Neat, I didn't know there were tools available to do that. What do you use?

The easiest GUI tool to take apart a PDF is Illustrator (Win/Mac) or Inkscape (Linux). There are various to-text or to-html converters which will product a text file you can open in OO.o or Microsoft Office; generally speaking if you select a bunch of tabbed text (use search/replace to convert spaces to tabs if necessary) and paste it into a spreadsheet it will be entered into separate cells. Microsoft Office is especially good at taking some arbitrary text and getting it into columns correctly, but massaging the data first is always a good idea. (I usually use OO.o anyway.)

Open Source Governance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27466745)

http://www.metagovernment.org/wiki/Open_source_governance [metagovernment.org]

"Open source governance does not demand that every person participate in every decision. It simply allows people to participate as much or as little as they please in any decision in any community. It is thus expected that people will tend to channel themselves into specific areas of expertise and into specific communities. They will not be restricted to those areas, but they will have the opportunity to become (powerless) "leaders" in those fields simply by their reputation (either informal or formal, as through a scoring system). "

How are you a leader without power?

Are they seeing e.g. Linus Torvalds or RMS as "leaders without power"? Are moderators on Wikipedia "leaders without power"

Re:Open Source Governance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27472173)

Wikipedia moderators have the power of moderation. But sure, linus and rms are powerless leaders: people listen to them, but are not compelled to do what they command.

Interesting source code. (2, Insightful)

The_PHP_Jedi (1320371) | about 5 years ago | (#27466967)

I really want to meet the Web developer(s) who developed Data.gov's temporary home page. Its source is simply horrible.

1) XHTML standards compliant? Far from it.
2) Why use <center> tags?
3) There's a couple of unused and unclosed <p> tags.
4) No CSS at all.
5) Why use an image to display text?

I hope that was a quick job by an intern. Otherwise, we're doomed :P

WhiteHouse.gov doesn't pass standards compliance validation, but for the most part, it's alright. It could be better in some minor points, in terms of speed and efficiency (which are unrelated to standards compliance).

Re:Interesting source code. (1)

garcia (6573) | about 5 years ago | (#27467205)

As far as I'm concerned it can be a bunch of raw links to RSS feeds, CSV, and XML files. Who the hell cares what a data repository looks like? I want to take that data and use it myself elsewhere. I don't need it to be pretty where I get it from as long as it's in a format that's useful.

Re:Interesting source code. (1)

The_PHP_Jedi (1320371) | about 5 years ago | (#27467303)

What if those feeds have bad markup? Then it'd be harder to extract and use the data, which is opposite of what wants to be achieved.

Standards are there for a reason. While I'm not pedantic with needing to follow every stinkin' standard, they are there as guidelines for a reason: to make sure what's created is as useful as possible to the largest amount of people.

Re:Interesting source code. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#27468257)

Yeah.
I will only code my software in dialects of Basic and Assembler.
And the streets shall be made of gravel with mud underneath. As long as you can drive on it...
Let's build out cars out of plastic and glue. As long as it drives...
And let's build our houses out of wood and plaster. ...
Oh wait...

hum...

OH *WAIT*!

Re:Interesting source code. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 5 years ago | (#27468251)

2) Why use <center> tags?
[...]
4) No CSS at all.

Kinda answered your own question there, huh?

Re:Interesting source code. (1)

The_PHP_Jedi (1320371) | about 5 years ago | (#27468505)

Hehe :P
You can use CSS for other things, but I was pointing out the use of depreciated tags in the XHTML standards.

Re:Interesting source code. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 5 years ago | (#27469057)

the use of depreciated tags in the XHTML standards.

I'm actually annoyed that the Center tag was ousted. I liked it, dammit! I read the reasoning behind the deprecation decision, it's far from nonsense, but I don't want to let go of my precious tag!
From my cold, dead web pages I tell ya ;-)

Re:Interesting source code. (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 5 years ago | (#27470713)

This is obviously just a temporary page. Who cares if there is CSS? That's just another layer of formatting nonsense for a short message, when the browser default format will do fine.

Unclosed <p> tags? What's the point of closing <p> tags? It's just a few wasted bytes and a few moments of wasted typing time. Standards zealots should spend their time criticizing things that actually matter.

Now, the image text, I don't get that one. That's stupid.

OUCH; (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#27467003)

Republicans are going to be upset with that Sunlight Foundation. Cast light on how corporations, lobbyists, and individuals interact with Gov. That could cause some chaos. As a Libertarian, I look forward to that.

Re:OUCH; (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27467211)

Republicans are going to be upset with that Sunlight Foundation. Cast light on how corporations, lobbyists, and individuals interact with Gov.

... As a libertarian, I'm sure you'll appreciate how this might upset some Democrats and Independents, as well.

Just saying. :)

Re:OUCH; (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 5 years ago | (#27467855)

Oh come on. I'm as liberal as they get, but to claim that democrats are somehow exempt from manipulation by "corporations, lobbyists, and individuals" is laughable at best. Both parties take full advantage of the fact that money somehow equates to free speech in the US.

Open source goverment, no thanks! (3, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#27467131)

Of course, it is still a far cry from 'open sourcing' the actual decision-making processes of government.

If this results in the same performance expectations as OSS projects, I'll take the current government of ANY country on Earth over an OSS one any day.

For every successful OSS project, I'd say there are at least 10,000 pitiful ones, thanks to their management. Compare that with the current way goverment works on the planet and I'd say that for all their problems, the current systems used to form goverments are all, with out any doubt in my mind, far better performers than the average OSS project.

Why would we want to make things WORSE for pretty much everyone, in the off chance that we happen to get lucky enough to get the right people on it to make it successful. The successful OSS projects that you can think of are exceptions to the rule, not the norm. While they are great and all, I'm not personally willing to play those odds. Its not like playing the lottery where you have as a 1 in 14 million chance of winning a few million dollars, but you're only out 1 if you don't win. While it would be fabulous if we did it and it worked, the risk involved if we fail alone makes it not worth attempting in my mind, add in the odds of it working and its almost worth shooting you just so no one else gets this crazy idea in their head. Obviously a little late now, but I think you get my point.

Re:Open source goverment, no thanks! (2, Interesting)

RudeIota (1131331) | about 5 years ago | (#27467307)

I don't believe an entirely open source, wiki-style government sounds appealing at all. That would be anarchy.

But that isn't what you're talking about... Just wanted to make that point first.

This is a stretch, but in a way -- on paper -- we already have an 'open source' government. You contribute by suggesting/complaining to your congress critter and they are supposed to represent you. The idea is that your contribution will be taken into consideration, expanded upon and eventually legislated. You elect these officials and the idea is that they are supposed to represent your ideals. These people are the management, in a sense.

The reality, of course, is it doesn't quite work that way. But I think that's the idea behind our system.

By 'open sourcing' the government more, I think we can improve this process. Our system is archaic, designed for people getting messages on horseback. We have all of these great, easy, instant ways to communicate now and lots of people have lots of ideas. While a pure OSS model might not work out so well -- opening up the government a little more, loosely based on OSS ideas and principles -- I theorize would be a good thing.

Re:Open source goverment, no thanks! (2, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | about 5 years ago | (#27467311)

The borrowing of the term "open source" refers (loosely) to the ideals [metagovernment.org] of the open source movement, not the management processes any project may use. In fact, "open source governance" is a governance methodology, and not the same as the governance mechanism of any existing OSS projects.

Re:Open source goverment, no thanks! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about 5 years ago | (#27467445)

er, because those mismanaged open source projects mass murder people on the scale of hundreds of thousands and embezzle money on the scale of billions? they line their pockets and project their power with the blood of soldiers and the misery of the people? yeah, your governments are much better than any half-assed FOSS project.

Re:Open source goverment, no thanks! (1)

jyx (454866) | about 5 years ago | (#27469643)

For every successful OSS project, I'd say there are at least 10,000 pitiful ones

Ive worked in government it for the last 13+ years. You can easily swap 'OSS' with 'government' and your sentence will still be correct. Be aware that your government is riddled with just as many pitiful, mismanaged IT projects as those OSS one, the only difference being *you* are paying for these failures.

(And that's just at the operational level, you would be horrified to know just how much of your life is actually governed by poorly put together excel spreadsheets.)

Re:Closed source goverment, no thanks! (1)

bit01 (644603) | about 5 years ago | (#27470543)

For every successful OSS project, I'd say there are at least 10,000 pitiful ones, thanks to their management.

"For every successful closed source software project, I'd say there are at least 10,000 pitiful ones, thanks to their management."

Stop pretending failed internal projects that never see the light of day don't count. Open source is the same except visible. That's the whole point.

Whenever you see anybody replacing what should be the word "software" with the more selective words "open source software" or "closed source software" you can be sure you're dealing with somebody with an agenda, either a marketing parasite (the worst zealots of all) or a bigot who can't be bothered actually thinking.

---

Open source software is everything that closed source software is. Plus the source is available.

Direct democracy... (1)

religious freak (1005821) | about 5 years ago | (#27467371)

still a far cry from 'open sourcing' the actual decision-making processes of government

And thank Jebus for that... direct democracy would be the undoing of our republic based systems of governance.

Re:Direct democracy... (1)

Toe, The (545098) | about 5 years ago | (#27467919)

I encourage you to read the source site [metagovernment.org], which details a ground-up, sophisticated mesh of communities based on consensus. While it gives everyone a say in any governance decision, it is radically different from the traditional concept of direct democracy. Note also that Metagovernment is a global project and not focused on any singular government. In fact the first targets are very small, non-governmental communities such as condominiums and clubs. Transformation of something like the US federal government may take... a few years. :)

re-inventing the wheel, following the hype curve (1)

recharged95 (782975) | about 5 years ago | (#27467673)

remember e.gov? whatever happen to the millions (or billions) spent there?

Understanding Cobra. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | about 5 years ago | (#27467755)

"...and an article on O'Reilly discusses the importance of making this information easily accessible."

Like that saying at the end of some cartoons "Knowing is half the battle". Now let's work on making it more understandable.

GIS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27467781)

Nice Wired article, but I didn't see any mention of the data I'd like to see the most: GIS data. Property boundaries, owners, sale prices. Topos. Geo mapped weather data. National parks. Roads. Building types. Zoning data. Hiking trails. You get the point.

This information is public domain already, but mining it is virtually impossible.

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