Constantijn van Oranje Nassau: "The real focus of governments should be empowerment of people"

Prior to the Beyond Data Event we interviewed Constantijn van Oranje Nassau, Ambassador StartupDelta of the Netherlands, Special Advisor European Commissioner and one of the keynote speakers of the event. What is his opinion about open data? How can you engage citizens, universities and businesses? And what about privacy and transparancy in data?
I think the real focus of the government should be empowerment of the people and allowing people to have more control over their environments. And that’s what the data could actually do. But also, the government can basically articulate those things that they want to have done. And with the data, putting that out there, allowing other parties to deliver that instead of trying to always first súpply the solution and then ask people to participate in the solution. It’s another way of thinking and I think that is where the true transformational power of data lies.”

Watch the interview

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In the last decade we talk a lot about open data, how do you need it, how do you collect it, how do you storage it, how do you share it and is has been very much to getting governments to understand that they actually have a lot of data that is valuable. I think indeed we are passed that fase now, we are looking how the data can be put to better use and there was the assumption that is just lead to economic activity. We have the data, put it out there and people will start making business with it. We know that that doesn’t happen, you have to curate it, it takes much more work to actually do that. I think the real focus of the government should be empowerment of the people and allowing people more control over their environments and that is what the data can actually do but also the government can basically articulate those things they want to be done and with the data putting that out there allowing other party’s to deliver that instead of trying to always first supply the solution and then ask people to participate in the solution. So it is another way of thinking and I think that there were the true transformations of power of data lays.

Privacy

To engage citizens, universities, businesses they need to see the value. So I don’t think you can engage them by articulating a project and can supply driven. You have to find the things that they want to do and enhance that. So putting data out there, datasets, is not going to do it. I think what is going to do it you articulate what citizens want and get them participating in actually designing the solutions. So co-creation is I think a very strong way of engaging people.

Transparancy

The key thing for me would be more on the opportunity side. Yes, privacy is a big issue but I would say instead talking about privacy, talking about transparency. Give people more control and basically communicate better of how the government is using the information and as she allowing the people to benefit as well from the data that the government have and to give them services.

Ownership of Data

Just having your data open doesn’t make a government transparent. Everything and every activity of the government open insuring that you have API’s for that would make a big shift I think. You can image that if you are gathering …. that you just put a dataset out there, that doesn’t tell you anything how the government is actually using that information, how efficient it is, you know so it is also a kind of metadata about what the government does, how it is spending his money, how it is selecting projects, how it is actually allocating from subsidies, those kind of information that’s the kind of data that you would like to make government more transparent.

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