1. nycTWG's letter to de Blasio on technology and transition  →


    We write today to draw your attention to the historic opportunity the de Blasio administration has to harness the explosion in everyday Internet and mobile technology. This new technology can help the average New Yorker get the greatest benefit from their city government, and help your administration better marshall the city’s resources to serve the public.

    As a candidate for mayor, Bill de Blasio told technologists:

    I believe there should be a top-level position that oversees technology and innovation at a citywide level, across agencies. Titles can be sorted out post-election.

    We agree. There is a clear need for the de Blasio administration to do what large businesses and the federal government do, which is to effectively coordinate across agencies, to ensure that all agencies use the best practices in technology, procurement, and digital content management. Managing technology across all agencies is beyond the capacity and authority of a shared service agency like DOITT, and far exceeds the existing authority and responsibility of NYC Digital.

    Our groups strongly support New York City’s open data law, and have seen how powerful it is to use technology for data analytics and performance management, both at City Hall and within agencies. The de Blasio administration should build on this by doing even more with data analytics, and by getting the greatest value from expensive data collection and analysis by making that information publicly available and usable. Pulling together the city’s disparate digital information and technology is a big challenge, but it is the operational underpinning of many of your policy goals.

    We wish you good luck as you search for the next generation of technology and innovation leaders, and appreciate your consideration of our views.

  2. Launching #OpenCouncil


    A group of us, have formed #OpenCouncil, a small working working group around transforming @NYCcouncil to be more open. We hope to pressure the Council to be more open, transparent, and digitally savvy. Join us.

  3. NY Governor Cuomo Announces Special Advisors for Open Data Initiative  →

    So great to have Andrew Nicklin join the NY Governor’s office. All New Yorkers will benefit from this!

  4. Employers are now required to make sure that potential personnel are not on the no-hire registry.

    That makes sense but things got complicated when it came to the technology used in operating the registry.

    Center lawyers concluded that the seemingly obsolete technology of faxing provided more security than email, given the possibility of hacker attacks, at least in the short-term.

    Agencies may also have limited capacity to send encrypted or otherwise protected email.

    "In most cases the Internet right now is not safeguarded to the correct level," said center spokeswoman Diane Ward.

    But all those names, which will run into the hundreds or even thousands during a month, were being funneled through a single fax machine located in a secure room at the center’s Bethlehem headquarters.

    That led to an overload of the machine, which in turn necessitated the request that applicant lists be sent between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.

    — Fax at 1 a.m.? Forget it - Times Union

  5. The City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a bill that will create a crime mapping database, allowing the public for the first time to view and search reports of criminal activity at a neighborhood level.

    — City Council loosens NYPD grip on crime data | The New York World

  6. Transparency, at very minimum, needs to be a two-way street — not an ever-present, top-down panopticon.

    — A New York police state of mind: Bloomberg’s vision of a drone-filled city doesn’t fly | The Verge

  7. There’s a deep, deep relationship between New Yorkers and their government,” Mr. Flowers said, “and that relationship is captured in the data.

    — Mayor Bloomberg’s Geek Squad - NYTimes.com

  8. In the past few years we’ve seen a huge shift in the way governments publish information. More and more governments are proactively releasing information as raw open data rather than simply putting out reports or responding to requests for information. This has enabled all sorts of great tools like the ones that help us find transportation or the ones that let us track the spending and performance of our government. Unfortunately, somewhere in this new wave of open data we forgot some of the most fundamental information about our government, the basic “who”, “what”, “when”, and “where”.

    — The Biggest Failure of Open Data in Government | Open Knowledge Foundation Blog

  9. Open.NY.gov Adds 64 New Localities to State Open Data Portal →

    Reinvent Albany is an NYC based organization demanding an Open, Accountable, New York State Government

  10. NYC, We Want #eHailApps!

    New York City wants to launch a pilot program for “e-Hailing” NYC taxis. With E-hailing, you use your smartphone to virtually hail a nearby cab, then pay using a pre-stored credit card.  It’s awesome, and lots of other cities are already up and running with it.  

    Unfortunately, NYC is on the brink of losing this opportunity.  A group of car service companies, in a misguided attempt to protect their own businesses at the expense of the convenience of New Yorkers and visitors alike, is suing the city to block the pilot program.

    E-hailing is already part of the transportation experience in London, Dublin, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco, among others. Drivers and passengers in those towns have instantly adopted it as the new norm, and love it for its convenience the boost it gives the taxi industry. They will never look back. Without it, New Yorkers will feel like second class global citizens.

    E-Hail apps like Hailo, Flywheel, and Uber have proven they will improve the livelihood of taxi drivers and the quality of life for their customers, and will do the same for New Yorkers.

    Let’s not miss this opportunity. Let’s tell NYC, the taxi industry and the courts that we want NYC’s transportation network to be world class, and that e-Hailing is a critical step on that path.

    Reblog this and Sign the damn petition!

  11. "Open.ny.gov creates unprecedented transparency across all levels of government and gives the people user-friendly access to vast quantities of information on our State," Governor Cuomo

    — Governor Cuomo Launches Open.NY.Gov Providing Public Unprecedented User-Friendly Access to Federal, State and Local Data | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

  12. Compiling information in a central location is the first step toward understanding the size and scope of the data that is in the city’s possession. “It’s the equivalent of going to a library, and know you have a card catalog you can go to,” Noel Hidalgo, executive director of the Open NY Forum, a civic data meetup group that was part of the coalition of non-profits that advocated for the law.

    In the meantime, some omissions from the new lode are glaring. For example, precinct-level crime data, released on a weekly basis by the NYPD, does not appear to be housed in the portal. The NYPD currently hosts that information on its own website, and makes it available only in PDF format, which makes it nearly impossible to extract and use the data to track crime trends and patterns.

    Local Law 11 requires agencies to convert data posted on the web portal to a format that can be used for other purposes, like building applications and running analyses. “Not having it in machine-readable format is almost a disservice, or it’s creating an obtuse government,” said Hidalgo. “Willingly creating data that is not easily consumed by computers, you’re not in 21st century.”

    — New York’s data deluge begins | The New York World

  13. It’s a baby step in the right direction, but it’s a pretty big baby step," said Noel Hidalgo, executive director of the Open NY Forum and Code for America’s local program manager. "You cannot reinvent the architecture and the practices of government within a year.

    — Happy Birthday To NYC’s Landmark Open Data Law - The Eye-Opener | Gotham Gazette: The Place for New York Policy and Politics

  14. Happy birthday NYC Open Data Law!!!

    The signing of Local Law 11 of 2012


    One year ago, you made history. One year ago, we got NYC’s Open Data law passed and gave this nation a new gold standard in government transparency.

    By opening up and making the City’s data machine readable, the we will be able to build better interfaces and help grow this city into the 21st Century. Together, we will increase the effectiveness of government services and an equitable City for the future.

    Today, we stand on the steps of City Hall and look to the future of municipal open data. Over the next few years, it is up to us, the developers, designers, the doers, and the thinkers to be a true partner in open government. It is up to us to be the Government for the people by the people.

    I look forward to seeing you on the steps of City Hall or in Cobble Hill for our evening birthday party.

    Happy Birthday Local Law 11 of 2012! Here’s to a new era in Open Government.

  15. Using mobile technology and creative solutions, the developers behind the winning apps of the Financial Empowerment Hackathon have thought strategically and creatively about how best to approach the challenges facing consumers today," said Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer. "Their apps, which do everything from send automatic phone messages about appointments with financial counselors to quickly pinpointing the nearest Financial Empowerment Center, will help consumers become smarter managers of their money. Once again, New York City’s local technology community has proved an effective partner in serving New Yorkers through technology, and we appreciate these innovative contributions.

    — Department of Consumer Affairs Names ‘Remind Me’ App Winner of the 2013 Financial Empowerment Hackathon