New York City Council Member Ben Kallos serves as Chair of the Comittee on Governmental Operations and a member of the Committees on Land Use, State & Federal Legislation, Women's Issues and the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses.
“Public Online Information Act” (POIA) mandates that materials that are “public information” or subject to “public inspection” be made accessible to the public timely fashion and user-friendly format online through the agency’s website, a centralized website and through an open application program interface (API) to provide sharable data to empower civic hackers and developers to create their own apps. While Open Data has made great strides in making government information available warehouses full of materials are still being generated that are not making it online because they are only “public information” or are only subject to “public inspection.” This changes all that and will put materials online like:
- All city contracts;
- Department of building technical standards, accident investigations, and waivers;
- Transcripts from public hearings that are keyword searchable;
This legislation is modeled on federal bill by the same name introduced this year by Congress Member Steve Israel (D-NY) as H.R. 4312 and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) as S. 549. It also supplements Open Data, Local Law 11 of 2012, passed by former Council Member Gale Brewer, the current Manhattan Borough President.
“eNotices” will mandate that public notices be accessible online to New Yorkers while expanding and specifying the definition of “public notices.” In addition to publication in newspapers, the City Record, or posts on bulletin boards and lampposts, residents will also have access to notifications on electronically centralized websites with open application program interface (API) to provide shareable data to empower civic hackers and developers to create their own apps to disseminate items of local importance.
"City Record Online” introduced with Council Member Jimmy Vacca, mandates the improvement of the existing City Record On-Line (CROL) website by mandating that all items currently in the paper copy of the City Record published by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) be included in the web version with an open application program interface (API) to empower developers to create their own apps to track the city’s contract bids and awards. This also includes a green cost-savings initiative to reduce waste by removing the outdated requirement that the City Record be circulated on paper to government offices.
Free and Open Source Software Act (FOSSA), would minimize city contracts for proprietary software in favor of free and open source software (FOSS) that can be shared between government agencies and bodies instead of propriety programs that currently require the city and other municipalities, including the state, to pay private vendors over and over again for the same code. FOSS provides the city with power over the code and the freedom to study, modify, upgrade, improve, customize, maintain and redistribute within agencies and to other cities or states. Free software means code that is free from proprietary constraints, not free of charge.
Civic Commons Act, would encourage the collaborative software purchasing of free and open source software among agencies, cities and states to pool resources, avoid duplicated effort, create portable expertise, grow jobs, and reduce costs. A Civic Commons FOSS portal would be created to facilitate collaborative software purchasing and host the collaborative FOSS source code as well as FOSS projects identified as useful for government use. Civic Commons is currently a project of Code for America, a not-for-profit hosted at Commons.CodeForAmerica.org with more information available at wiki.CivicCommons.org.
“OpenMaps,” introduced by Kallos and Vacca, mandates that data sets behind government maps, like those at NYCityMap (http://maps.nyc.gov/), become open and shareable so residents, civic hackers and developers can create apps to help:
- Drivers find off-street parking at garages and lots;
- Bicyclists find CityRacks and bicycle parking shelters;
- Residents find free access to broadband and wi-fi;And government services of all kinds, including youth, aging, health, parks, cultural, and education services.
“Open GIS,” introduced by Kallos, Rodriguez and Lander, creates a new level of specificity for NYC Crime Map (http://maps.nyc.gov/crime/), specifying the exact location of the incident using GPS coordinates along with date and time for every violation, crime and arrest – including the exact location on the street where collisions occur. Current forms only record nearest intersection or street address, leaving the public without the specific corner or crosswalk on a street or pathway within a park where incidents occurred. The legislation will empower the NYPD, DOT and safety advocates in the public with the knowledge to address safety concerns with the precision necessary to prevent future otherwise preventable incidents, in line with the mission of Vision Zero.
Open FOIL would create a centralized, searchable database of Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests sent to City agencies. The online database would allow members of the public to both file FOIL requests and search previous ones. Information would include the date each request was filed and documentation of its progress. The site would be developed by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and the Office of Operations.