Open Data Day 2014: Open Government Standards
Madrid, 22 February 2014 - As open data activists around the world celebrate "Open Data Day" on 22 February 2014, Access Info Europe recalls that Open Data is an integral part of all work to promote open government and has been integrated into the core of the Open Government Standards, which are being promoted by civil society as a framework for determining and evaluating government progress on openness.
To mark Open Data Day 2014, Access Info reiterated its call for governments to ensure that all data released in digital formats is made available in an open format. In practice this means releasing data in a machine-readable format using commonly available, open source or free software tools, and ensuring that the data can be processed, evaluated, and reused without limits. There must be no technical or legal limits on reuse of the information.
Helen Darbishire, Founder and Executive Director of Access Info, explained the importance of making government data freely available in open formats: "True openness means that everyone has the same opportunities to access and use public data sets. Open formats help unlock the social and economic potential of information, particularly large data sets, but also other types of data. Open formats permit wide distribution of information, which in turn contributes to better understanding of public institutions and increases opportunities to participate in decision-making processes."
European Parliament moves forward on Transparency of Company Ownership
Madrid, 21 February 2014 – In an important move with widespread implications for the defence of human rights and the fight against corruption, the European Parliament moved a step closer towards a legal obligation for companies to disclose their real or “beneficial” owners on 20 February 2014.
The progress came in the form of a vote in favour of beneficial ownership transparency by Parliamentarians in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) and the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE). The Parliamentarians voted that the future EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive should require mandatory public registries of the beneficial owners of companies.
Access Info Europe endorses International Principles on Surveillance
Madrid, 24 February 2014 – Access Info Europe today formally signed the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, and reiterated its call for greater transparency of state surveillance of private communications.
"In spite of the scandal which followed the Snowden revelations, we still have insufficient information about the nature, scale, and use by states of surveillance of private individuals," said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.
Civil society reacts to the imminent regulation of lobbying in Spain
Madrid, 5 February 2014 – Just as Spain makes its first steps towards regulating lobby activities, Access Info Europe CECU, CIECODE-Proyecto Avizor, La Fundación Ciudadana Civio, Open Kratio y Qué hacen los Diputados have warned of the need to consult civil society, and base any future regulation on advanced international standards in order to meet this new challenge for transparency. On 12 February, a Spanish Parliamentary Commission will decide whether lobbying is to be regulated or not.
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