Can Open Data Improve Democratic Governance?

Thursday, September 12, 2013
8:30am to 6:00pm
Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall
University of California
Available multimedia: 
Event has video


Twitter: #OpenDataUC13

Open data, social media, geographic information systems, wireless communications, and mobile devices are transforming the relationship between government institutions at all levels and the constituents they represent. The open data movement, fueled by technical innovations, offers opportunities to increase accountability and citizen participation through greater transparency and by generating more effective, crowd-sourced solutions to public problems. At the same time, questions of access and inclusion must also be addressed. Which groups are enabled to participate by these tools and whose voices are omitted? This one-day conference explores the impact of open data on public policy and democratic governance in the digital age.

Sponsored By:

Institute of Governmental Studies

CITRIS Data & Democracy Initiative


8:30 - 9 am  Hosted Continental Breakfast

9:00 - 9:10 am — Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Jack Citrin, Director, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Paul Wright, Director, CITRIS, UC Berkeley

9:10 - 10:40 am Panel 1 — Open Data and Civic Participation: Examples from the U.S., Europe and Africa
This panel will review the development of the open data movement by drawing on experiences and achievements of programs in select American and European cities and the African Development Bank. What lessons can be learned from previous projects and what emerging trends show promise for increasing transparency and civic participation?

  • Carole Post, New York City Chief Information Officer & Chief Strategy Officer, NYU Law School
  • Stephane Grumbach, Senior Scientist, INRIA
  • Richard Stirling, Programme Manager, Open Data Institute (UK)
  • Jeanne M. Holm, Chief Evangelist,, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Beejaye Kokil, Economic and Social Statistics Division, African Development Bank
  • Moderator: Jasjeet Sekhon, Professor of Political Science & Statistics, UC Berkeley

10:40 - 11:00am — Coffee break

11:00 am - 12:30 pm Panel 2 — Public Open Data and the Private Sector

This panel will feature representatives of start-ups and established companies using new technology for open-government initiatives. In addition to discussing how their products meet the needs of government and citizens, they will explore how public open data can help drive the creation of new businesses and stimulate the information economy.

12:30 - 1:00 pm — Hosted Lunch Break

1:00 - 1:45 pm — Keynote Address: “Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government”

Introduced by Ken Goldberg, Faculty Director, CITRIS Data & Democracy Initiative

1:45 - 3:15 pm Panel 3 — Navigating the Sea of Data Without Getting Lost 

This panel features advocates and practitioners of the open data movement from the nonprofit sector. They will provide specific examples of open data projects and data visualization as applied to legislation, campaign finance, law enforcement and public health.

3:15 - 3:30 pm — Coffee Break

3:30-4:45 pm Panel 4 — Transparency and its Discontents: Democratic Prospects and Challenges

This panel will take a broad view of the opportunities and challenges presented by the massive volume of public data now available. How can governments and citizens mine the advantages of greater information while also attending to concerns of privacy, equity and access?

4:45- 5:15 pm — Closing Keynote 

  • Steven Adler, IBM's Information Strategist & Chair, IBM Information Strategy Council

Introduced by Annalee Saxenian, Dean- School of Information, UC Berkeley

5:15 - 5:30 pm   Closing remarks by Camille Crittenden, Director - CITRIS Data & Democracy Initiative

5:30 - 6:15 pm — Hosted Reception: Sponsored by the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco/Silicon Valley featuring brief remarks by Consul General Cassie Doyle

For more information, please contact the conference coordinators:

Camille Crittenden, Deputy Director, CITRIS
ccrittenden [at]; (510) 643-8834

Marc A. Levin, Associate Director, Institute of Governmental Studies
marcl [at]; (510) 643-6476 

Video of the event is available on the CITRIS YouTube page.