Weiner’s campaign calls for technology advances that we already have

Normally, I would keep my mouth shut about the Mayoral campaign’s talking points, but when they are so willfully un-researched, I have to point them out. Yesterday, Anthony Wiener’s campaign announced 61 additional ideas to keep New York the Capital of the Middle Class.
I’d like to point out one…
112 – Make 311 a ‘Big Data’ Treasure Trove 
“Our 311 city help hotline has fielded over 158 million calls in the past decade. The data about the types of calls and the locations from which they are made are closely- held secrets by the city. This information should be released in raw form. Obviously we would remove any personal information, but giving the public and city workers access to the data might yield effective mapping, trend-spotting, and innovative solutions.”
THESE ARE NOT SECRETS. Since March 7, 2012, the City has had one of the most transformative open data laws. Almost since its inception, NYC DoITT has been publishing 311 requests to the City’s Open Data portal. You can access near realtime calls via NYC 311 map (developed by DoITT), follow them on twitter, or even use an Open311 inquiry API to access NYC’s 311Want to look at 311 data since 2010, visit < nyc.gov/data >.
If any candidate wants to attend any of our hacknights, we’d love to talk about what should be openedBeyond PLUTO, there are many more datasets we would like to see.

NYC’s only Mayoral forum on Tech & Open Gov Policy

THIS JUST IN! Our friends at the Coalition for Queens have organized a NYC Mayoral Forum on Tech Policy!


Join us at the NYC Mayoral Candidates Tech Policy forum at the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria) on Monday, June 17th at 6:30 PM to hear the candidates discuss topics related to technology in New York City, including tech jobs and startup companies, STEM education, and government policy.

The discussion will be moderated by Anjali Athavaley of the Wall Street Journal and Nilay Patel of The Verge. Confirmed candidates for the forum include:

  • NYC Comptroller John Liu 
  • Former NYC Councilmember Sal Albanese 
  • Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, Jr. 
  • Former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson 
  • Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner

We hope to make the forum participatory and would love your input. Please submit questions for the candidates on our website or tweet a question with the hashtag #queenstechforum.

This forum is presented in partnership with the Museum of the Moving Image, Partnership for New York City, Code for America NY, and Queens County Young Democrats.


But there is a dark side. Big data erodes privacy. And when it is used to make predictions about what we are likely to do but haven’t yet done, it threatens freedom as well. Yet big data also exacerbates a very old problem: relying on the numbers when they are far more fallible than we think. Nothing underscores the consequences of data analysis gone awry more than the story of Robert McNamara.

A report back on NYC BigApps’ CityCamp & Demo Night

A report back on NYC BigApps’ CityCamp & Demo Night

But even now, in an era of hyper-localization, of neighborhood blogs and Patch sites, many of us have little sense of what our community boards are doing, little time to pay attention, and the boards in turn often are short-staffed and cannot possibly disseminate information on every issue.