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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Qatar adopts ‘open data’ policy to boost transparency

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Large swathes of non-personal government data are expected to soon be released to the public in Qatar, following the recent adoption of a new open data policy.

Under the policy, government ministries and other bodies would be required to gather raw data that is not confidential or subject to privacy or security considerations and post it online in an easy-to-read format.

The government’s information technology ministry, ictQatar, is overseeing the execution of the policy. Among the data it suggested releasing are crime and traffic statistics, national budget figures, election results and public transportation timetables.

The information should be free of charge and individuals would not have to register or identify themselves to access, use or distribute the data.

Members of the public should also be able to submit requests for information that should be responded to in a timely way.

Building trust

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s open data proposal was first floated in March, and has since undergone “rigorous government, industry and public consultation,” ictQatar said in a statement.

It was approved by the national e-Government Steering Committee at the end of November, and announced yesterday during the “Open Data and e-Participation Forum” held by ictQatar’s Government Information Technology Sector Program.

On its website, the ministry explains the rationale behind the strategy:

“In order to build a knowledge-based society, it is important in the long-term for Qatar to create an open, transparent culture where knowledge bases are kept current and easily accessible, which in turn develops the capacity and culture for routinely processing, sharing and interpreting information.”

It is not clear when ministries would be required to release information under the new system, but the policy document suggests a timeline of at least one year for agencies to organize and post the data.

Meanwhile, ictQatar has also been working on a policy that would require government agencies to engage with residents via social media and other online channels.

The ministry has said that the culture of e-participation is still lacking in Qatar, but is critical to improving transparency here.

Thoughts?

19 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

This is useful, a like the fact that Qatar is very advanced when it comes to IT infrastructure. The ability to look up real information, (with a critical eye) is better than the rumours and guess work that swirls around currently.

I am not a slave, I got pride
I am not a slave, I got pride
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

But hardly any Qataris knows the use of computers and mobiles other than for playing games. Lol..

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago

No need to, slaves like you come in abundance and at cheap rates too. 🙂 Long live the great Kafala system!

I am not a slave, I got pride
I am not a slave, I got pride
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

My friend, Who is the actual slave of Europeans and Americans? Education and thinking ability will free you. No contribution to the world and humanity in the fields of science, technology, arts, sports or anything. other than gas and oil, that too invented by Europeans..;)

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago

You mean the same Europeans that experienced a major economic crisis recently and up until this day do “tour” of Gulf states to seek “investments” to help dampen the damage? Or the same Americans who continue dealing amiably with Gulf nations that practice torture, have harbored terrorists/ terrorist supporters, and turns a blind eye to their other abhorrent activities in the name of “strategic interests”?

Go clean the bathroom and stop opining on things you know little about, you insolent slave you!

I am not a slave, I got pride
I am not a slave, I got pride
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

One more thing you guys(not all) are lagging very much There is something called culture or civilization. A frog in a pond only knows about that pond. Dude world is much bigger than that.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Internet is still censored, and if you don’t have vpn access your “critical eye” will be severely compromised by that fact.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

all of it?

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

The good stuff

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

To be honest, I am still not sure about the usefulness of this OpenData movement. It is becoming a trend now in every country to have many NGOs pushing governments for more openness, but that is not and should not be the end of it. What is more important is how to crunch all that data to come up with useful conclusions and then take decisions based on those conclusions. For now, most specialists agree that there is way more data than people able to crunch it. Software to help specialists sort out the data mess are still at an early stage, and even the good ones out there have reliability and accuracy issues. BigData, OpenData and all this jargon is good in theory but is Of very limited use in practice, at least for now.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Tell that to the Boston Red Sox, 86 years without winning the world series and then 3 in the last ten years, loads of free software out there to analyse with, even excel can do regression analysis on your phone. Hadoop and Weka are both free and there’s loads of web based affordable tools for businesses and their customers through web clients, mobile clients, etc, and tons of datasets available built-in and online. A lot of these tools are becoming simpler to use with 4gl, or intuitive GUIs and common formulas already programmed, it can be little more than identifying the variables. The limit is the imagination and creativity of the person answering and formulating the business question. It’ll start appearing more frequently in high-schools in the next few years, and be the basics will be expected in future employment, much like microsoft office as a skill was once expected

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Huh?

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Not sure what the purpose of your comment is, apart from telling us you are the master of knowledge. If you think that by inserting things like Hadoop, Weka, GUI, 4gl and all that bs your comment will be valuable, I am afraid this is a huge failure 🙂

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Sorry Yacine I don’t define success by you. The point of the comment was to counter your claim that the software is not mature, explain that claim and then provide an example of how it is used successfully and then some of the tools available, of which there are lots, and they’re free. “Big Data” as a concept has been around for a long time, and the software is at a stage where students use it in high school. Again, sorry you think it’s BS, not sure why you aren’t able to control your frustration and break out from a logical debate between seemingly adults, to being rude

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

sorry yacine – you lost that one big time

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  thedrizzle96

Now let’s go back to the main story. There is way more data than one can crunch and analyse. You can use all the best software in the world, there is absolutely no way to treat the terabytes of data generated every day by all institutions in the world, let alone to come up with sound conclusions. This is the issue of Big Data. Even the NSA, with its super massive human and financial resources acknowledged that there is a lot more than they can analyse, even after discarding 99.99% of the collected information and keeping only the information related to a pool of keywords.

thedrizzle96
thedrizzle96
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Your number is probably closer to a zetabyte LHC alone is 40tb/s. what you’ve highlighted in your claim is one of the main obstacles to competing and / or using data for value, and that’s not data access, but in fact not having the right people, skills or ability to get the data to the right people and the information that data produces to everyone. The information being released here by the SEC is being released because it can be useful in more way than they can imagine and set the way for future hypotheses to be developed and more information to be used to find different correlations. Key word search with real-time in-memory analysis can predict disease outbreaks, and that’s not by the NSA or your benchmark, that would be google who’s doing that. Big data is “the oil of the 21st century” so with all that in mind, I think your comment is more accurate that big data is limited in practice for you at least for now, but globally, the value is being exploited, and that exploitation and analytical ability will be expected as a core competency sooner rather than later

Pete
Pete
6 years ago

Am I to believe that up until now election results and transport timetables were not made public?

Zaheer
Zaheer
6 years ago

their should b data on average number of cars on each road at particular time .. and companies should decide der working timing based on least number of cars ..or at least avoid the work time at peaks

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