There’s a new topic posted on the US Government APIs Google group inquiring about instances of government agencies using pay models for government APIs.
My default answer to this is no, that we should treat it much like we do other public goods. Just like any venture, government agencies need to reconfigure their budgets and IT operations to provide a public API offering.
In this day and age, government needs to take into account that data and APIs are a twenty-first century public offering. If agencies are trying to justify data/APIs from a budgetary perspective, the first step would be to reallocate funding priorities and eliminate antiquated services these offerings replace.
Pay for the data, streamline IT processes that make it easier and cheaper to publish data, eliminate outdated operations they replace and empower third-parties to leverage that data and provide more market-based public services. If we’re going to start charging for data/APIs, we need to first do a holistic assessment of what the ecosystem looks like if we’re going to innovate our thinking around it, as opposed to looking at it from a micro perspective.
I can see in high-usage cases where there may be some merit to charging for data usage, but we’re still a long ways away from that discussion. Let’s innovate first before jumping into pay-for-use fees.
Would love to hear other opinions on this. Share your thoughts.
Code for America’s Catherine Bracy has a great TED Talk on civic hacking and one of America’s greatest civic hackers, Ben Franklin, inspired a brigade of do-good developers across the world.
Her Mexico City anecdote is an especially inspiring example of civic hacking at its best, as Bracy says, creating “a twenty-first century ecosystem of participation. They’re creating a whole new set of ways for citizens to get involved besides voting or signing a petition or protesting. They can actually build government.”
GovFresh 2013 Civic Organization of the Year, Datos Abiertos, Transparencia y Acceso a la información, or D.A.T.A., shares its work and plans for the future.
Photo courtesy Pete Peterson
Davenport Institute’s Pete Peterson has spent the last seven years working with local governments on improving their approach to public engagement. Now, he’s running for California secretary of state on a platform centered around civic innovation.
Photo courtesy of Piqua, Ohio.
GovFresh 2013 Small City of the Year Piqua, Ohio, is a shining example of the old adage “small is beautiful.” With its multi-pronged approach to engaging citizens, Piqua is proof that it doesn’t take a big city budget to execute big civic ideas.
‘Startup.civ’ is a regular GovFresh feature highlighting the startups powering the civic movement.
StreetCred Software, Inc.
Give us the 140-character elevator pitch.
StreetCred helps law enforcement agencies locate fugitives, get them out of the community, and bring the officers home safely each day.
Bay Area Rapid Transit Web Services Manager Timothy Moore discusses the recent upgrade of its flagship website, BART.gov, including a Drupal migration, embracing agile development, encouraging third-party developers to build off its open data and APIs, and plans for the future.
Despite the fact that millions of websites around the world today are powered by low- and no-cost open source content management systems, nearly all small city governments remain trapped in the 90s.
It’s not that they don’t want great websites to serve their citizens. They just don’t have the technical prowess to understand what their options are and how to deploy and manage them.
Photo: U.S. Health & Human Services
Since last October the U.S. media, in full orgasmic throng, has been barking madly over the fate of the Healthcare.gov rollout. There has been overwhelming and obdurate polarization around positions on issues that would, in other arenas, be viewed through the objective lens of what most agree are facts.
Congratulations to the 2013 GovFresh Awards winners and thank you to everyone who participated in the process, including the incredible judges, as well as CivicActions and NuCivic who support my work here at GovFresh.