Thursday, January 22, 2015

Myanmar bottom of world data openness ranking

January 21, Mizzima

A study into the openness of governments to publishing data has found Myanmar ranked bottom out of 86 countries surveyed by a foundation set up by the inventor of the internet.

The Open Data Barometer, Second Edition, released on January 20 by the World Wide Web Foundation shows Myanmar at the bottom at 86, with the UK and the United States, one and two respectively.

Other Asian countries that show need for improvement include Singapore at 29, Pakistan at 67, and Bangladesh at 68. Afghanistan and North Korea were not surveyed.

Over the last four years, Myanmar’s government has been opening up both to its people and the outside world. But it lags when it comes to opening up government data and information to its citizens and interested parties.

The new research report, backed by Sir Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the Web, reveals that in more than 90 percent of countries surveyed, data that could help beat corruption and improve government services remains locked away, either inaccessible or in closed formats.

Despite pathbreaking pledges by the G7 and G20 to boost transparency by opening up government data, fewer than 8 percent of countries surveyed publish datasets in open formats and under open licenses on government budgets and spending, public sector contracts, and who owns or controls companies, according to the report.

The report also finds that citizens in most countries cannot freely access data on the performance of key public services such as health and education. Just 7 percent of the countries surveyed release open data on performance of health services, with 12 percent providing corresponding figures on education.

A global movement to make government “open by default” picked up steam in 2013 when the G8 leaders signed an Open Data Charter - promising to make public sector data openly available, without charge and in re-useable formats. In 2014 the G20 largest industrial economies followed up by pledging to advance open data as a tool against corruption, and the UN recognised the need for a “Data Revolution” to achieve global development goals.

The Open Data Barometer forms part of the World Wide Web Foundation’s work on common assessment methods for open data.

The foundation was established in 2009 by Sir Berners-Lee to advance the open Web as a public good and a basic right.