German government screws up open data 70

Last year, the German government commissioned a fairly extensive study (Link) on open data, and started preparations for an open government data portal. The open data community felt somewhat relieved. After all, lobbying for more open government in Germany, the cradle of prussian bureaucracy, is not exactly an easy task. This is a state apparatus dominated by information silos, dusty hierarchies, pen and paper workflows and an attitude towards citizens that often borders on arrogant. Bravo to the few change agents within the Federal Ministry on the Interior, who over the last months and years have closely collaboratored with a multitude of actors, including app contests and bar camps.

Here is what happened. Actors like the Open Knowledge Foundation (German chapter) had long ago built an open data visualization website (link), and had offered both the Interior as well as the Ministry of Finance, to actually provide that platform to them, basically developing infrastructure for the government. How nice. Community-public-partnership, real open government. What a pipe dream. Last fall, the Ministry of Finance unveiled its own data visualization website, for who knows how many thousand euros in fees paid to web agencies (Update: it cost 40.000 EUR, the original budget was 200.000 EUR ). It looks alright but isn’t as open as experts had hoped, and the amount of data is lackluster – tools for comparison and other accountability-encouraging functionality is missing.

http://www.bmi.bund.deThe Ministry of Interior hired the Fraunhofer Institute, a mainly government-funded research tank (famous, among other things, for inventing mp3, however that was a different department) and the Lorenz-von-Stein Institute of  Administrative Sciences, to study the benefits, risks and ramifications of open government. The extensive study should pave the way for a pilot program of an official federal government open data portal, that would eventually incorporate or aggregate open data sources on lower levels of government (Germany is a federation of states) – with them sharing the costs (the states were not happy). Fraunhofer and the Interior Ministry (BMI is the German acronym) have recently held a number of “community workshops” to get feedback on their process and involve outside experts in, among other things, clarifying the question of what license to use for the data catalogues. Suffice to say, the government prefers a much looser definition of “open” than the NGOs that are the authority in that field (Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Data Network, etc.). As it stands today, there [Update: might be custom licensing formats, and a lot of data that will only be released with] seems to be an introduction of custom licenses, including the option of a “non-commercial” [Update:] Creative Commons license attribute, which makes it semi-open in the eyes of the pundits, [Update] and is the likely reason for striking of the word “open” from the portal. Other critics have lamented the closed nature of those workshops, from which participants weren’t allowed to tweet or blog. An open web consultation on the government’s Open Government white-paper was similarly disappointing. The consultation immensely improved the quality of the paper, however much-demanded provisions were watered down: there is no mention of the OGP in the white-paper, even though it was one of the most-requested alterations to the draft.

Following an introduction of the beta version on Twitter the other day, it sounded like the critics were finally right – and to cross the i’s and dot the t’s, the Government decided to altogether scrap the word “open” from the platform’s title. It will be called “GovData“. Following the development the last few weeks it seemed clear that the conservative elements in the higher echelons either just did not get what it means to finally go “open government” in the data dimension, or they were just too scared to follow through. Government gerontocracy is like a little child, it will do all sorts of things on the way to the bedroom to prolong the eventual fate: the kid will go to sleep, no matter how many stops on the way. So it is with government, the path is towards more open, collaborative and efficient government, but all this loss of control is making people there so anxious that on the way to openness they will cling to whatever remnants of control they think they can still cling to. Experts can but shake their heads, and sigh at the squandered opportunities of this government, which would love to be very innovative in economic dimensions, but is actually a very backwards cabinet with lots of conservatives in key positions and a liberal coalition partner that is mostly occupied with its own ultra-low poll numbers.

Selection_022All this adds to a series of disasters in open government in Germany. One is the stubborn denial to  join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), along with the partners in crime Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. As an act of spite, they formed the “DACHLi” (the acronym for the countries’ licence plate IDs) initiative, a series of workshops and cooperation agreements to mostly push information exchange and open data cooperation in a way that they have nothing to fear from it, and provide ample platforms for lobbyists to talk CIOs into purchasing proprietary IT solutions for “open” government. All the while, you can count the actual attempts for more cultural and managerial change towards openness with one hand. Another of those disasters is the government’s battle against a community-built Freedom of Information platform ( and its failure to make publicly accessible studies produced as part of the parliamentary research service (after all, paid by the taxpayer). A third thing comes to mind: the failure to ratify the UN Convention against Corruption, along with a handful of other rogue states, because it would require reform of the federal criminal code that would tighten rules for politicians’ leeway to accept campaign donations and stricter transparency on their side-jobs. Look it up, Germany is in good company there, even Myanmar is ratifying the convention.

Let me make this clear. Most of the people I know who are working on this, both in the BMI and at Fraunhofer or other forums where dialogue is happening, even within the companies I don’t trust with the word “open”, really mean well. They are all knowledgeable, smart and innovative people who want open government – real open government. However, there is a glass ceiling in this government, above which decision-makers are scared and confused about all this openness and the internet, and have zero interest in more transparency. Change-agents and innovators in government and elsewhere, suffer and get disillusioned from this reluctance. With fatal consequences and lasting mistrust.

Unless something changes and openness becomes a top-down priority, we are not going to make much progress here. There is some hope with the upcoming federal elections this fall, but with the current political climate in Germany, it is very likely that not all that much will change. There is little hope for innovation and reform even after the election. I sound bitter, but I have to say despite all the factual debates and constructive work, I am also sick of pretending everything is fine and progressive, when it is clearly not. As Tim Berners Lee was recently quoted saying, it’s no longer okay to be in government and not understand the internet. I would add, it is not okay at all to be in government and not embrace progress.

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  • Florian

    Thanks Sebastian for those clear words and background information! I work mainly on local level with a focus on IT / Internet-strategies. Therefore I would like to add that it would have been a great support having an open data platform on federal level, as a showcase, moral support, whatever … for open government iniatives on local level, especially within local administration. A lot of cities are struggeling with a lack of political support and not-understanding.

    • opengovger

      thanks for the feedback

      • alexstobart

        Is there any forthcoming EU legislation that can assist in bringing about more Open Government in Germany, and all other EU Member States ?

        • opengovger

          not that I am aware of. there is some progress in terms of open data and public sector information (PSI), but not on open government in general

        • Walter Keim

          EU does not care about access to information e. g. is PSI based on national FOI laws rather then setting standrds for them (5 German Bundesländer do not have FOI laws)

  • Michael cost at least 40.000 Euros, the original budet was 200.000 Euros. See the following FOI request:

    • opengovger

      thanks, I included it in the text

      • Michael

        And in spite of their advanced visualization methods, the data displayed within all the sub groups can only be downloaded as pdf. You then have to find your way through the single enormous Excel file.

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  • Thomas Langkabel

    Crowbar or lime-twig?

    For good reasons the German political system is based on insistent checks and balances, a federal structure with very independent federal, state and local levels,
    empowered by subsidiarity (let the lowest and decentralized authority handle
    the matter) and connectivity (who orders the drinks pays the bill) in addition
    to the departmental principal. These are fundamental constitutional elements of
    the German Grundgesetz.

    I see the point in the maceration of the pure understanding of “Openness” if you try to introduce an “Open Government Portal” with data sets which have a CC-NC licence tag.

    The German Federal Ministry of the Interior obviously accepted that misleading perception by renaming the intended portal from “Open Government Portal” to “Government Data Portal”.

    Let’s face it: Open Data essentially makes sense on the level where people are directly affected by the data. This isn’t the federal level but the state and local level – the level, where the federal government has very limited powers in the execution of administrative procedures and the movement towards Openness.

    There are literally no levers or edges for the federal government to force state and
    local governments to provide open data following the pure principles of Open Data and – let’s be honest – the Open Government / Open Data discussion hasn’t really hit the road below top levels. Yes, there’s movement in some major German municipalities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Bremen or Bonn… but what about the rest? There are still a lot of concerns regarding responsibility and liability for Open Data within the majority of German state and local government– unfounded or not. How do you encourage these doubtfuls? By forcing them into the acceptance of pure and dogmatic principals? Again: without any power to do so? Or by building bridges they can cross at first?

    If you want pure Open Data now, you have to start changing the political system – good luck.

    If you want to encourage sustainable movement towards Open Data within the system – be patient, accept compromises, accept doubt and uncertainty and build bridges for the brave who are willing to take the first steps.

    And stop bashing the bridge-builders.

    • opengovger

      I didn’t bash the bridge-builders at all, in fact I was very clear about that in my text. What I’m bashing is whoever is stopping the bridge-builders from actually doing real good. I agree, the issue is complex, and the GovData issue is merely a symptom of a much larger reluctance of this government to open up. ..

      • Thomas Langkabel

        There’s absolutely NO way you can discriminate between an internal ministerial department and the ministry itself in public discussions. Every internal department works for and in the name of the ministry, the ministry stands for each and every of its departments. Basic government principles… if you hit the leader you hit the troops… what do you expect the Minister to think reading “German government screws up Open Data”? “My troops did a good job managing ‘this strange Openness thing with the community’?

        • opengovger

          I understand your point, however pretending everything is honkey-dorey is in my eyes hypocritical, because everything’s exactly not fine. I cannot think of much opengov that has come out of this government, so why should we pretend otherwise? Should the minister’s “troops” feel offended by my article they can read very closely the sentence where I made it clear that that’s exactly not what I mean. I think they’re doing a great job considering that their superiors want the opposite of what they’re trying to accomplish. Kudos. If the open government debate cannot deal with an honest opinion about the sad state of affairs every now and then, then that’s something to think about as well…. I mean to stimulate the debate, where is our #Streitkultur ? ;)

          • Ines Mergel

            I believe it’s important to have roles such as Sebastian’s in a democracy to call out government and push it to think beyond the existing boundaries. Criticizing government will never be done by contractors who want to be considered for future RFPs or even semi-academic institutions that want to be hired to write reports in the future. Sebastian’s blog post is helpful – while I don’t agree with the catchy headline – and is what is needed for the democratizing process toward Open Government to continue.

          • opengovger

            thanks for the feedback, Ines. without the catchy headline however who would’ve read it? ;)

    • Andreas Kuckartz

      One aspect of Open Data is that the data is not provided in a proprietary format (such as those created by Microsoft). The removal of “Open” from the name now also makes it easier to publish such non-open data on the portal.

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  • Hans Hagedorn

    Thomas Langkabel wrote: “Open Data essentially makes sense on the level where people are directly affected by the data. This isn’t the federal level but the state and
    local level”

    I do not understand this argument, in spite the fact that I hear it in every second discussion about open data or participation. Why are we not directly affected by federal policies, or even by EU-policies? We should citizens care about local small politics, only?

    • Thomas Langkabel

      Let me clarify that point: Of course, everyone is affected by federal or EU policies, directly or indirecly. But the relevance and ownership (!) of possible Open Data is very different from level to level. The Open Data principles demand data with highest granularity and an origin nearest to the source, free from aggregation and interpretation. Most of the data – geodata, statistics, process data – emerge from local government procedures. Of course, there’s interesting stuff on the federal and state level and of course these data have to be opened as well. But when it comes to data that makes sense for the vast majority of the citizens, then we talk about vacancies in kindergardens, local crime statitics, environmental data, geo references of interesting places, the municipal budget and spendings, teacher/student quota, just to mention a few. I agree, everyone should be interested in higher politics and the future of democracy and society – reality still looks different from that ideal. But hope dies last…

      • Hans Hagedorn

        Dear Thomas, thank you for the clarification and I agree with you.

        However, we have to very careful about these arguments, because often these are only vested arguments in order to confine the “messy participation” to the local level and to keep a clear field in “real politics”. At least this is, what I suspect sometimes.

        In order to make higher politics and the future of society accessible to broad and productive discussion, I believe that we should put even more emphasis on the federal level and make sure, that federal data and policies are well documented. If we succeed in this, local authorities will follow the example.

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  • Ina Schieferdecker

    As one of the bridge builders, I am indeed puzzled with the fact that it is considered to be ok e.g. in UK having a non-open license on but not for Germany?! As we did in Berlin: the intent and the default is to use an open
    license – but it is also the intent to get access to quite a number of data sets
    - it is always easier to discuss about usage conditions once sth. that is being made available to the public. The more data sets “pop up” in the context of a data
    portal, the more benefits it gives. Do you see the point? And in fact, both is
    being done in Germany: recommending an open data license – and inviting to
    publish data on GovData.

    I agree that it is helfpul to critically analyse where Germany stands, but it is
    likewise helpful to see and understand the conditions under which data opening
    is possible/realistic/approachable in Germany.

    And, I can only repeat my appeal to everyone: Please be open to see what is being achieved by the launch of such a data portal in Germany. The portal assures that any data set, document or app on the portal is described, electronically available and has a well-defined license. Step by step: please be patient with the change-makers and bridge-builders that work on progressing the subject in Germany.

    • opengovger

      Thanks for the feedback, Ina. I am patient with the changemakers and bridgebuilders, I think you’re/they’re all doing an amazing job, however I would like to see more willingness for change higher up. The data portal is only one aspect, and probably the one we’re making the most progress. In other areas, the outlook is bleaker.

      • Ina Schieferdecker

        Yes, indeed – could make a difference and constitute a major step forward in Germany. I very much hope that current discussions (not only this article) turn into one that also see and recognize the progress being made or enabled in the near future. The discussions should help to attract, not to detain public officers from joining the initiative on opening German government data. Everything else would be counterproductive in that very moment in time.

    • Wolfgang Ksoll

      What do you mean with non-open licence on
      The Open Government License from Her Majesty says:
      “The Licensor grants you a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual,
      non-exclusive licence to use the Information subject to the conditions
      below. ” and
      “You are free to:
      – copy, publish, distribute and transmit the Information;
      - adapt the Information;
      - exploit the Information commercially for example, by combining
      it with other Information, or by including it in your own product or
      application.” …
      “The Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) has developed
      this licence as a tool to enable Information Providers in the public
      sector to license the use and re-use of their Information under a common
      open licence. The Controller invites public sector bodies owning their
      own copyright and database rights to permit the use of their Information
      under this licence.”

      This is different to the NC-licence-suggestion of BMI and to the idea of selling a small amount of German public data.
      What did I overlook in Her Majesty’s licence on

      • Ina Schieferdecker

        1368 data sets (as of today) follow on a non-open government license:

        • Wolfgang Ksoll

          This is not really correct. The query asks only whether the datasets are following OGL. What I found is for example in these datasets:
          - Map data CC-BY-SA
          - Coal Resources Map of Britain: Access limitations: “There are no constraints on the access to the dataset and no constraints on the usage.”
          and so on.

          We have in UK and US the same picture that the federal layer encourages no licence restrictions but some entities dream of big money of double selling their work first to the citizen and than to another customer. Shit happens. But in Germany the federal layer provides nc-licences the other way round. You know we had the joke that the so called “Open Data Strategy of the state of Berlin is not allowed to be copied by employees of the State of Berlin without written permission of Fraunhofer due to copyright restrictions :-))

          Even the strategy is not open :-)

          But I agree with you that it no good policy to restrict usage of “Amtliche Werke” §5 UrhG which have no copyright by applying the restrictions of Creative Commons. “Amtliche Werke” should stay free unless we change Urhebergesetz.

          • Ina Schieferdecker

            Indeed, but there are also many non-open data sets (no time to check what the proportion is, but just look into the first datasets of the search results). The main point is that not only in Germany, but also in other countries like UK an open data license does not do the trick.

            Wrt. to the Berlin study, the original version was printed by IRB – but please see here for the CC-BY versions:

          • Wolfgang Ksoll

            The difference between UK and US on the one hand and Germany on the other hand is that UK/US promote open license (where I doubt that licences in Germany are legal when you have no copyright according §5 UrhG) while the German side promotes a lot of different restrictions. This is in a global perspective not acceptable and there is no democratic reason discussed in public.

            For the different copyright statements in different versions of identically Fraunhofer papers: it is no help for an employee of the state of Berlin who finds on his official portal that he is not allowed to copy any text form the “Berlin Open Data strategy” without written permission of Fraunhofer, that on other sites different versions claim the opposite. Do you believe that a private company is more trustful than the State of Berlin?

            The only thing I can see is that we have homebrewed copyright problems that are not state of the art in a global context of Open Data. We created by ourselves our closed shop mentality that hinders the development of an Open Data movement in Germany.

            We have to remove any restrictions which let us live the spirit of the information of freedom acts. We have to learn form our failures to give the citizens of Germany an excellent service.

          • Ina Schieferdecker

            Well, also Germany promotes the open data license as explained. This discussion can be endless if facts are not acknowledged (although Germany does it different to UK/US, it would be ignorant not to see the differences in these systems). But others might speak up – FOKUS is not the legal, but the technical partner for

            And yes, we “learnt from our failures” and put the Berlin study under CC-BY as requested by the community. And guess what: it was not an issue for the public officers, which just needed to read and work with it, which they could do right from the beginning. Maybe therefore it was not updated, however, this is just my personal guess. But let us leave this also at this point.

          • Erik

            If all of this is a pure misunderstanding, why was “open” dropped out of the title of the plattform ? Now it reads on the website: “Um noch deutlicher zu machen, wo der inhaltliche Schwerpunkt des Portals liegt, wird das „Open-Government-Portal Deutschland“ in Zukunft unter dem Namen „GovData – Das Datenportal für Deutschland“ betrieben.” (…to stress where the focus of the platform lies, the “Open-Government-Portal Germany” will be called “GovData – Dataportal for Germany”).

            In my ears that sounds more like “open” is not the focus and the opposite to “promoting open licenses”.

          • Ina Schieferdecker

            Indeed there seem to be misunderstandings: the portal was named originally, it then ran under the working title “Open Government Platform für Deutschland” and was recently coined to be the portal. Open data was not part of the name – the open related to Open Government.

            On another line: the study by FOKUS, Lorenz-von-Stein Institute and Partnerschaften Deutschland for BMI published last summer concentrated on Open Government Data as central part of an Open Government platform for Germany. It recommends open licenses – and that one should be specifically developed to address the specifics of open government data in Germany. The study argues also that data offers with restricted licenses are better than not having data offers at all. In result, a mixture of data offers with open and restricted licenses are put forward.

            I’d suggest to stop interpreting words. At the end the content and services of the portal will matter. The current numbers show more data sets with open licenses than with licenses restricting access or use. As with any other process or technical system, there will be suggestions and/or requirements for improvements of the portal – but let us have such discussions once started.

          • Wolfgang Ksoll

            From the government the platform was announced as Open Data Platform as can seen by official statements like the bpb:
            Mr Friedrichs and Mrs Rogal-Grothe from BMI are always talking of Open Data. What is then the reason that Fraunhofer spends so much effort to expose the restrictions on state and federal level?

          • Erik

            That’s strange: At least at some time you at Fraunhofer Fokus thought, that you were working on an Open Data portal – in your blog there is a screenshot of the prototyp – it was clearly named “Open Gov Data Plattform”:

            I understand that you have to justify the decision of your funders, but I think it not very believable. How should Open Government work without Open Data?

          • Ina Schieferdecker

            To Wolfgang and Erik: Yes, FOKUS works on open data in various contexts. Open data is what FOKUS stands for.
            Also in, open data is in. All the discussions are that it is
            not open data only (like in many if not all other countries with data
            portals). And no, we do not expose the restrictions – being involved in
            quite some of the discussions around, I just try to explain
            outsiders why things are as they are in the beginning. Come on, it
            cannot be too difficult to at least see things as they are – they can be
            changed but not immediately – change takes time. Germany as a whole
            started the process of opening government data – just give it time to

          • Wolfgang Ksoll

            I do not agree. You do not try to explain something, you fight actively for restrictions. Above you stated wrongly that “1368 data sets (as of today) follow on a non-open government license” That was wrong. The query was whether the following the specific OGL. Many of the sets are completely open without any licence, others were not, but your statement to fight for restrictions was wrong.

            I just have to come back to the Berlin Open Data Strategy. In the text (with you mentioned as one of the authors) it is claimed: “Aufbauend auf Vorarbeiten, in Reflexion einer Reihe von Interviews mit Akteuren im Land Berlin und in Weiterentwicklung existierender Open Data-Konzepte wird in diesem Dokument die Berliner Open Data-Strategie formuliert.”

            If this announcement is really the official open data strategy of the state of Berlin than it is according to §5 UrhG (German Copyright Law) free of copyright and therefore the statement of Fraunhofer is unacceptable: “Dieses Werk ist einschließlich aller seiner Teile urheberrechtlich geschützt. Jede Verwertung, die über die engen Grenzen des Urheberrechtsgesetzes hinausgeht, ist ohne schriftliche Zustimmung des Verlages
            unzulässig und strafbar. Dies gilt insbesondere für Vervielfältigungen, Übersetzungen, Mikroverfilmungen
            sowie die Speicherung in elektronischen Systemen.”

            It is also unacceptable that Fraunhofer distributes the same book with the same ISBN-Nr with different copyright statements at different locations, where the version at the official place contains a very restrictive copyright notice which is the opposite of open data. If this version is no longer valid it ha to be withdrawn. It is no good policy to distributed different versions where the official version let us assume that the book does not contain an official policy of Berlin but some proprietary ideas of Fraunhofer.

            Fraunhofer has an active part in building restrictions and stating restriction where they are not (see above).
            This leads to unnecessary stress within the civil society as you can see in

            Fraunhofer should strongly rethink their upsetting of restriction when acting in an open data area. We discussed that on twitter in fall 2012 and now restrictions show up again. If we propagate openness and look at §5 UrhG we can avoid this unnecessary friction and boost the open data movement. Thank you for your appreciation.

          • Ina Schieferdecker

            You puzzle me … (1) a non-open government license is simply not the open government license … fair enough to say, that such a license may also be an open one … that was clarified

            (2) A study made by SenWTF and Fraunhofer is for sure not an “amtliches Werk”.

            (3) describes steps well-beyond the current project of developing a pilot.

            Just working towards a vision of open data (btw. not only from the public) within the scope of reality is totally different to building restrictions – they are just there. Working towards the vision means trying to overcome them, to find work arounds or to accept them for the time being and to see what will become possible in the future because of the steps one is doing.

            What about sorting this out in a f2f meeting.

          • Wolfgang Ksoll

            (1) A non-open government licence is a licence from government which is non-open, what you perhaps meant where licences which where not “Open Government Licences”. But a lot of items were more open than OGL. So your statement is misleading.

            (2) If Freshfield drafts laws for any federal ministry than the law is not copyrighted as you suggest. If it becomes law it is free of copyright (have a look to §5 UrhG). What you claim is that is clear that “Berlin Open Data Strategie” has no official character but it is some science fiction. Therefore the title is totally misleading and should be corrected. Maybe in “Fraunhofers copyrighted ideas for a possible Berlin Opend Data strategy”: This might work in your restricted model of Fraunhofers intellectual properties.

            (3) You define a different scope than it was announced from BMI. I think it is not useful to take your restricted Fraunhofer view to fight against BMI.

            The time slot for telefon and f2f is over. The Open Data strategy for Germany has to be discussed in public. Especially because we see several times that the restricted viewpoint of Fraunhofer is not aligned with BMI and civil society. Thank you for your Fraunhofers point of views.

          • Andreas Kuckartz

            The title of the study is “Open Government Data Deutschland”. Usually the title is a summary of the content.

          • Marian Steinbach

            The PSMA licens terms, as used for the ordonance survey (=microcensus) data, basically are a NC-license. Here is an example:


            And here is the license text:


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  • Marian Steinbach

    I tried to add some detail to the picture. While many seem to rant about dumping the “Open” keyword from the title, I’d like to discuss questions like how important User Experience for a meta-portal like this is. How important is data quality? And how will the project go on? (German)

    I welcome your comments.

    • opengovger

      that’s a great blog post, thanks for adding to the debate

  • Jan Brennenstuhl

    In my eyes, BMI (and Fraunhofer?!) made final decisions by renaming the portal beforehand the second workshop, what in the end made the entire license discussion during the workshop pointless…

    looks like, the workshops are just some kind of pseudo-democratic tool used to legitimate a pseudo-open-government plattform.

    I already wrote about that right after the last workshop:

  • Wolfgang Ksoll

    Just to give an inspiration what is possible today in modern countries if the actors are willingly look at Her Majesty’s Cabinet Office what they published yesterday:
    Listen to the speech of Francis Maude.

    • Walter Keim

      The Norwegian Licence for Open Government Data (NLOD)
      “This licence grants you the right to copy, use and distribute information, provided you acknowledge the contributors and comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in this licence.”

      • Ina Schieferdecker

        The German open government license says: “Jede Nutzung
        mit Quellenvermerk ist zulässig. …” ​

  • Walter Keim

    Thank you for reporting on open data in the context of freedom of information and anticorruption.
    In international perspective there is room for improvment looking at transparency, freedom of information and anticorruption in Germany:
    1) 84 states with approx. 5.5 billion inhabitants i. e. 78% of the world population give better access to information then the federal Freedom of Information Law in Germany (
    2) More then 115 states ( with more then 5.9 billion inhabitants i. e. 84 % of the worlds population adopted FOI laws or provisions in constitutions. 5 German states with half of the population lack FOI laws.
    3) The UN Convention against Corruption is ratified by more then 165 states with more then 6,5 billion inhabitants, but not by Germany.
    Who is reponsible? Progress is blocked by the conservative party CDU/CSU. The German press does not report about these facts. Therefore the public is not informed and this party still gets enough votes to block progress.

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  • Andre

    I don’t trust the “open gov” lobby and academia at all. I just remind you of the Open XML scandal and the role Fraunhofer played in that, where openness was undermined and academics sold out to commercial interests from third nations. They still do, just have a look at the standards debate. How European academics at the payroll of third nation commercial interests helped to undermine the European Interoperability Framework. We don’t need new state-funded Sharepoint websites under an umbrella of openness. We need a strong state that lets corporations deliver on openness and market access. A state which does not fraternise with industry. With patent-unencumbered formats and full open source disclosure; all the other discussions about open data are a distraction of the PSI debate. In other words more “Prussian ethos” of government officials, less Government sellout. It also does not suit the dignity of a German government office to use English language terms.

    • opengovger

      please don’t throw all “open gov lobby and academia” into the same basket…. I don’t see what anglicisms and professional terminology has to do with dignity. Finding German words for a lot of these things is the most impossible and thankless task ever, and they will use twice as much space and twist your tongue ;)

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    Open Data though not provided in a proprietary format will still be helpful.


    ..a great blog post..thanks for opening up a good discussion..!