Opening Up Government Through Technology

There's a huge buzz and movement about opening up government. There are three phrases that are used frequently in relation to openness in government but each mean something a bit different.[Tweet "The focus on openness is changing the way IT is designed, developed, and implemented. #GovEventsBlog"]

  1. Open Government - This is a core tenant of our democracy, the belief that citizens have the right to access the documents and proceedings of the government to allow for effective public oversight. While this has always been a practice of government (via the Freedom of Information Act), with the move to digital records the way people want to receive and the way the government can share information has changed dramatically.
  2. Open Data - This is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone. Much of the information the government holds should be open data, but giving people the access they require has been a stumbling block to open government.
  3. Open Source - This is the technical piece of the "open" puzzle. Open Source is software for which the code is made freely available and may be used and changed. Open Source solutions allow people to not only get at the data but also work with that data in new ways.

The commonality between these three terms is that it is all driven by technology. The focus on openness is changing the way IT is designed, developed, and implemented. Code-a-thons use open data to develop solutions that are frequently open source (so that the government can re-use pieces of it as needed). Similarly, when the Department of Justice (DoJ) created a new portal for FOIA requests, they did so with open source so that state and local governments could re-use the solution. New technology is being rolled out daily to meet open data and open government mandates, like the DATA Act.[Tweet "New technology is being rolled out daily to meet open data and open government mandates. #GovEventsBlog"]

All of this leads to a more open government with data available to the people. To make sense of all of this openness, there are a number of events that provide perspective and expert guidance. Here are just a few of the events you can find on GovEvents:

  • Modular Open Systems Summit (May 1-2; Washington, DC) -- Open system solutions continue to be critical not only to the modernization efforts of the U.S. Military's fleet but also to the logistical IT and cyber efforts happening across the entire government. This summit includes discussion of open system policies and updates, logistics and planning necessary for implementation, the latest acquisition opportunities, current trends in cyber security initiatives, real-world implementation examples, and more.
  • Red Hat Summit (May 8-10; San Francisco, CA) - A pioneer in commercially available open source, Red Hat is a premier resource in learning about open source. The theme for 2018's summit is "The ideas worth exploring." Technology and industry experts will discuss and demonstrate how open source can move ahead in areas of AI, machine learning, automation, and more.
  • DevNation Federal (June 5; Washington, DC) -- Organized by Red Hat, this federally-focused event will feature many of the insights presented at the Red Hat Summit, but with a government perspective. Attendees will hear about innovations in containers, data, and application modernization. Visionary teams in federal government will share how they are innovating with open source.
  • Digital Transformation for Government (June 19-20; Washington, DC) - With a strong focus on open source, this event will discuss the strategies, capabilities and innovative applications towards optimizing and transforming government IT ecosystems with theĀ user at the center.

We'd love to hear from you. What events have helped you understand the openness trend in government? Where are you learning tips to implement more open processes in your agency?

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