Originally posted at CA Fwd.
By Ed Coghlan.

If you think you’re hearing the term “Open Data” a lot more, well, that’s a good thing. The increase in emphasis on getting more public information into the hands of California residents is a key tenet for improving how the state is governed.  A big part of what we do at California Forward is to press for more access to data so that people can make sure their governments are being held accountable for results.

The Open Data topic will get a full hearing on September 12 at UC Berkeley as a full day exploring the importance that open data can have on improving governance. It is being organized by the Institute of Government Studies and CITRIS Data & Democracy Initiative in a unique collaboration between Berkeley’s social science and engineering sectors.

California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and the Vice President of Corporate Citizenship for IBM, Stanley Litow, will be among the featured speakers. A full day’s agenda highlights 27 separate speakers and panelists at the event which will be held in the Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall at UC Berkeley. The speakers will represent all levels of government, software firms, nonprofit and public interest organizations, as well as academia.

“The conference features leading experts from the United States and abroad addressing all aspects of the open data movement as a means to increase transparency and civic participation,” said Kristin Connelly, who directs California Forward’s public accountability programs.

Technology has created a great opportunity to increase transparency and the people’s understanding of how their government and organizations work. The open data movement increases the potential accountability and citizen participation through greater transparency and by generating more effective, crowd-sourced solutions to public problems. At the same time, questions of access and inclusion must also be addressed. Which groups are enabled to participate by these tools and whose voices are omitted? This one-day conference explores the impact of open data on public policy and democratic governance in the digital age.

California Forward is happy to help promote this Open Data Conference because we believe that meetings like this will help California state and local governments create a culture that is transparent and creates accountability for results. California Forward issued the State of Transparency in California earlier this year, as part of the organization’s emphasis on the topic.

To learn more about the conference agenda, please visit http://igs.berkeley.edu/events/open-data and to register for the conference please visit http://citris-opendata.eventbrite.com