Equitable Open Data Guidelines


(Lorraine Chuen) #1

Some members of the Powered by Data team had the opportunity to attend the Allied Media Conference in Detroit last week. This annual conference brings together technologists, artists, activists and media-makers who are working towards social change. Our team members was excited to attend since a number of the sessions focused on technology infrastructure, and the relationships between data, oppression, and power in society.

During the conference, one of the speakers, Tawana Petty, highlighted Detroit’s Equitable Open Data Guidelines. These guidelines were created by the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition and the Detroit Community Technology Project. The guidelines are intended to promote "accountable, ethical uses of public information for social good that actively resist the criminalization and surveillance of low income communities, people of color and other targeted communities.”

They are as follows:

  1. Protect the people represented by the numbers
  2. Do not retain personal information tied to accessing City services
  3. Publish data about all City services, even for privatized “public” services
  4. Prioritize the release of new datasets based on community interest
  5. Increase transparency around how data sets are defined and processed
  6. Engage residents offline about open data
  7. Give the public a head’s up about plans for new data set releases and portal improvements so that we can be prepared to engage

Many cities in Ontario—including Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and London—have open data catalogues or portals. Are Ontario open data initiatives already engaging in some of these practices? What would it look like if the open data teams from these cities engaged in a similar research and community conversation around equitable open data? These conversations might be particularly timeline, given Ontario’s new anti-racism data standards we wrote about in our last post—which will require racial data to be published openly.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!