Open Data: towards the transparent administration

May 20, 2016

Illustration: Mobile applications developed based on Kyrgyz Codes

When it comes to discuss about “open data”, the majority of people usually ask numerous questions. They think “open” data is information publicly available in the Internet.

The idea of open data is comparatively new one and it experienced growing popularity during the last decade. It envisages providing free access to certain types of data in the machine–readable format.

This format allows processing of data and creation of new products on their basis meeting the needs of broad population. According to the specialists, data in the network are mostly in the closed format, which does not allow usage in developing new products.

The products developed with the use of the open data are usually available to all. These can include applications for smart phones as well as computer software decisions. Enthusiasts working in the IT area are ready to create IT products without remuneration, because of obvious possibility these products may become popular and then they can have them monetized after all.

The governmental data is of great interest for the society as availability of this data is the main indicators of effective performance of the state. Therefore recently the civil society has been active in ensuring that governmental information needs to be accessible in the open machine–readable format. They also strongly advocate the implementation of the e-governance and the delivery of e-services.

One of the examples of publicly relevant information in the Kyrgyz Republic is the Central Data Bank of legal information (CDB) with the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic. This resource is free and contains more than 79 thousand normative and legal acts of the Kyrgyz Republic i.e. laws, decrees, resolutions. To improve the access of citizens to the resource, the CDB in the open format was created within the framework of the UNDP project “Widening access to justice in the Kyrgyz Republic”. This event caused special interest of software specialists. In early 2016 the Kazakh developers using open data format created 11 new mobile applications with the Kyrgyz Codes, namely:

1. The Administrative code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
2. The Water code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
3. The Code of civil procedures (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
4. The Forest code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
5. The Tax code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
6. The Family code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
7. The Labor code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
8. The Penal code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
9. The Code of criminal procedures (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)
10. The Criminal code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=kg.law.ant)
11. The Civil code (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)

The developers stress that all mobile applications have a friendly and simple interface, the “search” and “settings” functions. In addition, the applications support the Kyrgyz and the Russian languages. They can be downloaded by any mobile phone or tablet user with Android.

According to Mr. Aziz Abakirov, the developer of the CDB Open data of the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic, national affiliation of the developers is not of importance, more significant is the fact that the open data are in demand - the virtual world is expanding and offers more and more opportunities to us. “I contacted our Kazakh colleagues and asked only one question: why did they decide to create applications with legal information of the Kyrgyz Republic and not Kazakhstan? The answer was that the Kyrgyz Republic has necessary and available open data for the moment.” He also told that open data was not only the possibility to involve the best talented people in solving the e-governance problems. The implementation and use of such data confirm the commitment of the country to the idea of openness and freedom, which in turn can positively influence the attractiveness of the country globally.

It should be noted that the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic has been for a couple of years engaged in ensuring the openness of information resources in the area of law. The CDB version for Android–based mobile devices was created, before that the data base was available only on the official web site of the Ministry. Currently this application is in active use by over 15 000 Internet users.

The advantages of open information are evident. Globally there are many examples of using this data for socially important projects serving an impetus for the development in a certain sector. They also influence the quality of people’s life or contribute to solving social problems. Let us hope that once we would be able to fully rely on reliable and open information in solving the problems of any area of our life.

Meri Bekeshova, Communication specialist of the project “Widening access to justice in the KR”

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