We at Omidyar Network have long advocated the merits of opening government data. Its potential to strengthen governance, drive economic growth, and build trust is attractive for those of us working to improve the relationships between governments and citizens. And yet we recognize the equally important need to protect individuals’ privacy and safeguard the citizenry governments are responsible to protect. The tension between these two objectives, opening data and protecting privacy, raises a lot questions.
Hence the rather unconventional punctuation in the name of this year’s event: Open Up? 2014. It’s a not-so-subtle nod to our intent to raise many questions as we explore the boundaries between openness and privacy.
What and where are the lines individuals, communities, corporations, and governments simply do not cross? As our world becomes more data-driven and digitized, which unchartered decisions and digital security issues must activists, journalists, governments, corporations, and citizens grapple with? What are the consequences and risks as we increase our capacity to track money flows and coordinate the activities of government agencies to improve efficiency and efficacy?
The Open Up? event promises a dynamic program, spurred by thought leaders representing multiple sectors and varying perspectives from around the globe. In attendance will be open-data activists, government officials, private sector leaders, technologists, journalists, and other civil society leaders.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter at #openup14.