Taking Stock of Tech: Reflections on Law, Technology and Society + Ruins and Zeroing In: Infrastructure Ruins and Datalands + City of Ottawa: Open Data +

This is a big week!

Friday, March 5 all day, there is a fantastic conference at Ottawa University for the inauguration of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society: Taking Stock of Tech: Reflections on Law, Technology and Society. The conference Program is fantastic and includes some of the world’s foremost authorities on things law, infrastructure, data, socio-tehnology…

Thursday, March 4, Cambridge Room of the Holiday Inn, 111 Cooper Street in downtown Ottawa at 5:00 p.m., Lecture: Zeroing In: Infrastructure Ruins and Datalands in Afghanistan and Iraq by Dr. Lisa Parks, chair of film and media studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Parks will analyze satellite images of declassified pictures of bombed sites in Afghanistan and Iraq in the context of the American policy that limits access to satellite images due to U.S. national security interests, as well as discussing some of the controversy surrounding the use of Google Earth..

Today, March 1, The City of Ottawa IT-Sub Committee meeting discussed Open Data.
3 Constituents spoke: John Whelan from Open Street Map (OSM) Ottawa, Hacktivist Edward Ocampo-Gooding and Tracey P. Lauriault.
I characterize the sentiment as cautious optimism, with concerns regarding the private sector capitalizing on open data, cost recovery, and cost priorities of the city. The argument was made that business being innovative with data was good as they are our employers, our tax payers and our revenue generators.
There was great support from Councilor Legendre, Rideau-Rockliffe Ward, stating that the most dangerous argument being made was for ‘democracy’. He was also very surprised that the City did not already have such a an open data policy in place. The Chair of the Committee, Councillor Wilkinson Kanata Ward, was very interested in different applications, while Councillors Chiarelli, College ward and Desroches of Gloucester-South Nepean Ward, expressed concern for costs to implement and the loss of potential revenue generating activities. Bref – The ideas of open data, open access or open government were new to all the councillors and my take is much education is required to help our representatives understand the issues.
City Staff did a great job putting together a presentation showcasing other city initiatives, innovative applications, benefits to the city and the demand for this by citizens.