Some of you may have seen my attempt at a spoof article and blogpost on Freedom of Information. This group are worth following for all things transparency, open data and digital things.
The first is an official one – UKTransparency – the UK Government’s Twitter end of the Data.gov.uk project that is looking to get lots of information and data sets held by the public sector published. At a Parliament level there’s @PictFor - Parliamentary Internet Communications and Technology Forum, and @POST_UK - the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology.
One individual who I only recently found out about and am already realising what a loss to the nation his untimely death in 2007 was, is Chris Lightfoot - the article linked to by Tom Steinberg of MySociety (which I first stumbled across via a tweet from the also-brilliant former civil servant and key mover & shaker for UKGovCamp, Steph Gray) shows why the sorts of skills and talents Chris had are the ones that todays politicians and policy makers need, but don’t have.
“Mixed in there are wholly new, alien group of skills that the recent SOPA, Wikileaks and ID cards debacles show that modern leaders haven’t got anywhere near to internalising: they include knowledge about security engineering, intellectual property and how new technologies clash with old laws and ideologies. They are skills that nobody used to think were political, but which are now centre stage in a polity that can’t keep up.”
Staying with all things innovative, I keep tabs on Dominic Campbell and Carrie Bishop. Ditto Glyn Wintle, sidekick to the bundle of endless energy that is Hadley Beeman. Someone else who’s knowledge I’m also in awe of is Sam Smith who’s probably spent more time having coffee with Puffles than most people. Stefan Czerniawski is also part of this wider group of public sector-related digital titans.
I mentioned a number of public sector digital titans in a previous twitter list, but I’ll mention a couple of them again. Mike Bracken is top dog in Cabinet Office on all things digital, putting flames to the cobwebs of many a departmental board. Two people who are also familiar with how things work with senior civil servants are Andrew Stott and Alex Butler. Jane O’Loughlin is the logistical brain behind the monthly #Teacamp gatherings in London – normally on the first Thursday of each month. If you are in London and are interested in all things digital media in the public sector (even if you are a private or other sector creature), get along there. From there you’ll be able to put a number of faces to Twitter accounts – in particular those mentioned in Public Service Titans. At the very top of the Pyramid is Neelies Kroes - EU Commissioner with responsibility for all things digital.
On the broader Freedom of Information front, there’s Ibrahim Hasan who’s carved out a very useful niche discussing all things FoI on Twitter. Ditto Jon Baines, Lynn Wyeth, FoI Monkey and FoI Man. The Information Commissioner’s Office has an account too, but I feel it’s still a little rough around the edges.
For those of you interested in investigative journalism, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is a good place to start.
For all things libraries and archives there is the lovely Nora McGregor, digital curator at the British Library. On a similar theme there is the World Digital Library which every so often tweets nuggets of gold. Parliamentary Archives is also a mine of tasty things for political historians.
People I’ve stumbled across in the Private Sector include Kerry at Dell who was one of the people who gave me a feel for what the interface between public and private sector is likely to become in the digital field. It was also here that I met someone who’s gone on to become one of my closest friends, social media trainer Penny Homer. Chris Osborne, who I’ve mentioned on previous occasions is also someone who I could not go without mentioning given his work on all things transport data.
In terms of staying safe online, I spotted a combined government and industry initiative Get Safe Online. I also keep tabs on the BBC’s @BBCClick stream, catching up with it as and when on TV. Rory Cellan-Jones is the BBC’s journalist you want to be keeping tabs on with these issues in mind.
On a “Holding large organisations to account” there are a number of people and organisations that deserve a mention. The Financial Accountability & Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition is one, The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is another. (Both of these are US-based). In the UK we have our national branch of Transparency International, and the Open Rights Group. There’s also the likes of Brian Cathcart, Thais Portilho-Shrimpton, Fleet Street Fox and Tim Ireland who keep tabs on all things politics and media using digital platforms. There’s also the Public Law Project, Open Corporates, Who’s Lobbying and The Justice Gap which you may also want to keep tabs on too. Ditto Open Democracy, Corporate Europe and Democracy Now.
Twitter now seems to have broken down for the evening so I’ll finish this one here.