What’s New in Civic Tech: What Do State Chief Data Officers Do?

This appears to be part of a county-wide trend of committing to open data practices. Earlier this month, Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly M. Foxx announced the release of more than six years of felony criminal case data via the Cook County Open Data Portal[6], a first-of-its-kind release for the county.

“For too long, the work of the criminal justice system has been largely a mystery,” Foxx said in a statement announcing that release. “That lack of openness undermines the legitimacy of the criminal justice system. Our work must be grounded in data and evidence, and the public should have access to that information.”

Foxx publicly stated a commitment to open data while running for her position in 2016 at the urging of Chicago’s civic tech group Chi Hack Night, which also went on to urge candidates in the ongoing Illinois gubernatorial race to make such a pledge[7].

Mayors across the country unite in support of net neutrality

More than 20 mayors from across the country have signed onto a new movement[8] aimed at opposing the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to roll back protections for net neutrality[9].

Dubbed Mayors for Net Neutrality, this new effort involves municipal leaders agreeing to a Cities Open Internet Pledge, which is essentially a promise to only do business with Internet providers that decide of their own volition to adhere to a strong set of net neutrality principles. A diverse group of mayors has so far signed on, including those from major cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Minneapolis, as well as those from smaller cities such as Putnam, Conn., Bow Mar, Colo., and Stockton, Calif., among others.

Since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election and questions were first raised about whether the FCC’s track record of preserving a neutral Internet would live on, there has certainly been no shortage of government leaders at both the municipal and state levels fighting for the cause. Indeed, the signing of this latest letter is just one more block within a mosaic of work to preserve equitable Internet protections nationwide.

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