Where has “honor in public service” gone?

I started my working career as an aide to politicians. I was proud to be involved in politics and government because I believed that I could make a positive difference.

It’s been a week like few others north of the border in Canada. Thanks to Rob Ford, we’ve garnered an unwelcome share of both national and international media attention. And that’s produced some remarkable moments. And all of them have been passed along through social media.

1. Vulgar Rob Ford

The raw video. Really raw video. You won’t believe the language he uses.

2. CBC’s National coverage of the day

Leading the nightly newscast.
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Pathways to Privacy Research Symposium: Privacy for Everyone

Privacy is an issue that has caught many users of social media and social networks unawares. Heck, it’s probably an active issue for 99% of us, whether we’re aware of it or not.

The challenge of online privacy starts with the terms of reference that we “read” when we’re signing up for a new service. How many of us actually read through the pages of legalese that stand between us and the shiny new service or app that we want to try out? Very few, I’d say.

The problem is compounded by changes to privacy policies we didn’t understand in the first place.

Remember, if you are not paying for a service, then you yourself are probably the product. And some advertiser or other third party is probably paying to access the data you’ve willingly and perhaps unwittingly provided to the shiny new app/service. It’s a case of User Beware.

Thankfully, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner have both taken an active, intelligent interest in online privacy. For several years, they’ve researched issues related to our online privacy and shared their findings and observations in real life events and online. They’ve been effective advocates for our personal privacy even when we’ve given into the temptation to skip reading the privacy notices or not spent enough time considering the issues surrounding privacy. (Few of us do, including me. They are complex and layered. Tougher to get our minds around than the simple joy of “liking” or “friending”.)

So, I’m looking forward to an upcoming event staged by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. On May 2, they are convening a day-long research symposium: Pathways to Privacy: Privacy for Everyone with a top-notch line up of speakers from academe, government, and civil society. Topics and speakers include:

8:30 – 8:50 am Opening Remarks
  • Ms. Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada
  • Ms. Patricia Kosseim, Senior General Counsel and Director General, Legal Services, Policy and Research Branch, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

8:50 – 9:15 amOpening Keynote

9:15 – 10:30 amPanel 1: The Changing Landscape for Youth

10:45 – 12:00 pmPanel 2: Reaching Diverse Populations

1:00 – 1:25 pmAfternoon Keynote

1:25 – 2:45 pmPanel 3: Cultural Perspectives on Privacy

3:00 – 4:20 pmPanel 4: Frontiers of Surveillance and Identification among Different Populations

4:20 – 4:30 pmClosing remarks

I’m planning to attend this symposium. And if I’m able, I’ll record interviews with the speakers who have the most impact and make the greatest contribution to thinking on privacy issues.

 

Tony Clement at Third Tuesday Ottawa Storify-ed

Canada’s Treasury Board President Tony Clement @tonyclementcpc appeared at Third Tuesday Ottawa #3TYOW last night. He discussed the potential of open government, bringing citizens closer to government and the new guidelines he introduced to guide public servants in their use of social media. He also took and responded to questions from the participants.

I’ve captured the highlights of the event through Storify. Enjoy.

[<a href=”http://storify.com/thornley/tony-clement-at-third-tuesday-ottawa” target=”_blank”>View the story “Tony Clement at Third Tuesday Ottawa” on Storify</a>]

Tony Clement talks about open government at Third Tuesday

Third Tuesday is back with another blockbuster speaker: Canada’s President of the Treasury Board, Tony Clement.

Tony Clement is well-known as a politician who maintains an active Twitter presence, sharing what is on his mind and what he’s doing, and engaging in conversations with Canadians. Anyone who follows Tony Clement knows that his Twitter conversations are sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes combative, but always genuine.

Tony Clement is also the President of the Treasury Board of Canada. That puts him in charge of Canada’s public service and makes him responsible for setting the standards and rules by which social media is being introduced into the Government of Canada.

As a Minister, Clement has pushed forward with initiatives to enable Canada’s public servants to use social media in the workplace and a broader initiative to introduce open government standards to the government of Canada.

In November, Mr. Clement

– unveiled the Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0, the reference document that will be used by Canadian Public Servants in determining whether and how they should use social media in the workplace.

– announced that completed access to information requests now will be posted online.

In December, Clement

– announced the addition of 4,000 data sets to the Open Data Portal.

– initiated a public consultation on Open Government. (The consultation closed in mid-January and the Treasury Board site promises that a final report on the findings will be posted in March 2012.)

– participated in a Twitter Chat on Open Government to give people a chance to raise issues, ask questions and engage with him online.

That’s a lot of action in a short period of time. But, what’s been happening now? How are the Web 2.0 Guidelines being applied by Canadian public servants? What did Canadians tell the Minister during the consultation? What’s on the agenda for 2012?

Third Tuesday participants will get a chance in February to ask these questions and talk directly to the Minister when he appears as our featured guest Third Tuesday Ottawa and Third Tuesday Toronto. Follow these links to find the details and sign up to attend Third Tuesday Ottawa or to attend Third Tuesday Toronto.

If you’re interested in open government and the use of social media by government, this session will be of real interest to you. I’m looking forward to a great evening of discussion with a man who has matched his actions to his convictions. I hope to see you there.

 

TweetChat with Tony Clement about Open Government in Canada

Tony Clement, Canada’s Treasury Board President and the man in charge of introducing Open Government principles to the Government of Canada, is taking his talk where the online community is – on Twitter. On Thursday, December 15, he’ll be hosting moderated TweetChats in English and French as part of the government’s consultation about Open Government.

TweetChat: Where and When

The English TweetChat will run from 5:00 to 5:45 p.m on December 15. The hashtag for the English session is #opengovchat. Because it is a moderated discussion, the host account will be @TBS_Canada, not @tonyclementcpc. The Minister will be providing answers, but they will be typed by staff members.

A French language chat will be conducted an hour earlier, from 4:00 to 4:45 p.m. EST. The hashtag for the French session is #parlonsgouvert and discussion will be hosted by @SCT_Canada.

Canada’s Open Government initiative

Canada’s Open Government initiative consists of three elements:

  • open data, making data available in machine readable formats
  • open information, proactive disclosure about the work of government; and
  • open dialogue, providing citizens with greater opportunity to have a voice in government decisions. Web 2.0 technologies will be used in this initiative.

The Canadian government has been making steady progress on this initiative throughout 2011. In March, then-Treasury Board Minister Stockwell Day announcedtwelve-month pilot project with the launch of an Open Data portal. In June, the newly re-elected government reaffirmed its intent to proceed with Open Government. On September 19, Foreign Minister John Baird signalled Canada’s intent to join the International Open Government Partnership. On November 16, current Treasury Board President Tony Clement announced that completed access to information requests now will be posted online. Then, a big announcement on November 22: Tony Clement unveiled the Guideline for External Use of Web 2.0, the reference document that will be used by Canadian Public Servants in deciding whether they should or shouldn’t. On December 2, Clement announced the addition of 4,000 data sets to the Open Data Portal.

Now, it’s our turn to have our say

Finally, on December 6, Clement initiated a public consultation on Open Government. The consultation runs from December 6 to January 16. You can see the questions they government is asking and offer your input online. During the consultation, the government is posting what they’ve heard so far. And they have promised a final report in March 2012.

The Minister’s TweetChat this week also is part of the consultation process. I plan to participate. If you care about achieving a more open government, I hope you too will participate.

——————————–

Interested in diving deeper into gov 2.0 and open government?

Alex Howard writes about Defining Gov 2.0 and Open Government

Australian Senator Kate Lundy’s keynote address The Path to Open Government: The Pillars of Gov 2.0

Jesse Brown interviews Tony Clement about Open Government in Canada.

 

 

 

 

Springtime for Government 2.0 in Ottawa?

Now that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been re-elected with a majority government, Canadians can begin to expect him to pursue some longer term objectives.

So, it was a pleasant surprise to read these commitments in the Government’s first post-election Throne Speech:

Canadians rightly expect fairness and accountability in the full range of government institutions that serve them. … Our Government will also support the efforts of the Public Service to modernize the way it works so that it can continue to provide the highest standard of service to Canadians. …. Our Government will also ensure that citizens, the private sector and other partners have improved access to the workings of government through open data, open information and open dialogue.

This is a reaffirmation of the move toward Government 2.0 that was signalled with the launch in March of open.gc.ca and data.gc.ca. At that time, Open.gc.ca described three initiatives the Government of Canada was taking:

  • Open Data, which is about offering Government data in a more useful format to enable citizens, the private sector and non-government organizations to leverage it in innovative and value-added ways.
  • Open Information, which is about proactively releasing information, including on government activities, to Canadians on an ongoing basis. By proactively making government information available it will be easier to find and more accessible for Canadians.
  • Open Dialogue, which is about giving Canadians a stronger say in Government policies and priorities, and expanding engagement through Web 2.0 technologies

Open.gc.ca hasn’t been updated since it’s launch. The front page still features the March 18 initial release and statement from then-Minister Stockwell Day. However, in light of the Throne Speech reference and New Treasury Board President Tony Clement‘s recent interview endorsing the Open Data initiative, we should start to see updates and news of further initiatives.

I’m going to follow this closely and write about it more often. I hope that you’ll follow along with me and join the discussion.

And if you are interested in this area, you also should subscribe to two other bloggers who are reporting on Canada’s open government initiatives:

John F. Moore, Canada Commits to Open Government in “Speech from the Throne”

Richard Akerman, Open Data Statement in Canadian Digital Economy Strategy Update

 

 

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin to speak at Third Tuesday Toronto

André Marin

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin

In my experience, a very few Canadian government officials have really succeeded in using digital media to increase public engagement. André Marin, the Ontario Ombudsman is at the top of that short list. Not only is he personally active on Twitter and Facebook, but he has integrated social media into his offices research and reporting.

The best example of this was his investigation into the conduct of the police during last year’s G 20 meeting in Toronto. When announcing that investigation, the Ombudsman invited Ontarians to submit evidence that had been gathered using social media. During the investigation, he provided updates on his progress via Twitter. In fact, his tweet that he had concluded the research stage was broadly reported by traditional media as if he had granted interviews or issued a news release. And when he released the final report, his press conference was posted on YouTube in a shareable format.

So I’m very pleased that Andre Marin has agreed to be the guest speaker at Third Tuesday Toronto on June 21. That’s the day he’s releasing his annual report, in which he will be announcing his newest focus – promoting open government.

I know the Third Tuesday community is savvy to the potential – and the challenges – of open government. So, I’m looking forward to an evening of  intelligent, probing discussion of this initiative.

Register to attend Third Tuesday with André Marin

You can register online at the Third Tuesday Toronto meetup site to attend this event. A great chance to explore the important topic of open government in Ontario.

Acknowledging Third Tuesday’s sponsors

As always, I want to thank the sponsors of Third Tuesday: CNW GroupRogers Communications, the Canadian Internet Registration AuthorityRadian6 and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Thanks to these sponsors, we are able to program great speakers in cities across Canada, including Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa.

 

 

Social Media in Government Conference, Toronto, Jan 31-Feb 3

I’m looking forward to meeting people who have rolled up their sleeves and introduced social media to government when I chair the Conference on Social Media for Government in Toronto at the end of January.

The Advanced Learning Institute (ALI) organizes several social media conferences each year in locations across the United States and Canada. I try to participate in as many as I can manage. I think the ALI organizers run a great conference. Kelly Werwie, the producer of this conference, works hard to curate the content, bringing together the smartest speakers she can find to cover the emerging and enduring issues. Speakers offer both experience and insight. On top of this, the conference also offers many opportunities for participants to spend time with the speakers as well as one another. It’s definitely a conference you come away from with both new contacts and useful information.

I’ll be speaking twice during the conference. On the second morning of the main conference, Pierre Killeen and I will talk about the using social media for public engagement. Then, on the final day of the conference, I’ll participate with my colleagues Mike Edgell and Eric Portelance in delivering a workshop on producing and integrating video into your social media.

If you have training budget available and are looking for a top-notch learning experience, I encourage you to take a look at the full agenda of the social media in government conference and to consider attending. If you do attend, I hope you’ll take the time to introduce yourself to me and let me know what you think of conference.

A great learning experience to start the year.

Next Third Tuesday Ottawa: Canada's National Capital Commission Web 2.0 Initiatives

“Reticence is often conquered by a win, and the best way to provide a win is via a pilot project.”

Daniel Feeny, Director of Digital Communications, National Capital Commission

Here’s an interesting situation: A government agency is responsible to make decisions that affect a specific community. However, the agency’s mandate is to serve the interests of the entire population (many of whom don’t care about what it does). Moreover, the agency’s governing Directors are appointed, not elected.

How does this agency fulfill its broad mandate while being open and engaging both the directly affected community and broader constituency in what it does?

That’s the challenge that confronts Canada’s Canada’s National Capital Commission (NCC).

A textbook case study

I was one of those people who thought that the NCC made decisions in private meetings behind closed doors. So, imagine my surprise when I saw a tweet telling me that the NCC would be Webcasting a public meeting of the NCC Directors. Not only was the decision-making process open for me to witness, but I could watch it directly from my desktop without the need to attend the actual meeting. A commonplace in this age, but totally outside of my expectations for the NCC.

But it went further than that. One of the agenda items was a presentation by staff of the NCC’s Web 2.0 Strategy. So I watched. And as Daniel Feeny presented the Commission’s Web 2.0 strategy, I learned that the NCC had been integrating social media into its communications through a series of small pilot projects. They learned from each pilot, refining their approach and applying the lessons to the next pilot. A textbook example of an organization learning how to use social media – incrementally, iteratively, intelligently.

So I’m delighted that Daniel Feeny, the NCC’s Director of Digital Communications, Outreach and Youth Programs, agreed to be the speaker at the next Third Tuesday Ottawa Social Media Meetup.  Daniel will discuss what the NCC learned from its pilot approach, what he would tell other organizations exploring social media and what he sees in the future for the NCC and social media.

If you’d like to attend, you can register at the Third Tuesday Ottawa Meetup site.

Thanks to Third Tuesday’s Sponsors

Finally, as always, I want to thank the Third Tuesday sponsors – CNW Group,Rogers CommunicationsRadian6 and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Their sponsorship for Third Tuesday makes it possible for us to bring great speakers not only to Toronto, but to Third Tuesdays across the country. Thank you CNW, Rogers, Radian6 and Fairmont for helping us to build a vibrant community of social media practitioners.

Students will receive a refund of their ticket price

We want students to be able to experience the best social media case studies and practices. So Thornley Fallis will refund the ticket price to any student who presents a valid student card to the registration desk at the event.

I hope to see you there.