­making-things-talk.JPGNew York, June 30, 2009 - ­Th­e New York City Council is considering a legislative proposal, Intro. 991, that would improve public access to “raw data” held in city databases. Yesterday, in testimony before its Technology in Government Committee, headed by Council Member Gale Brewer, Connecting.nyc Inc. urged the use of the .nyc TLD in facilitating access and management of city databases.

In essence, we urged that the city think of a database as a thing, similar to a bench, a tree, a light post, or fire hydrant. And that a .nyc domain name be assigned to each database. The great thing about giving a domain name to each database (or other “thing”) is that you can then have a conversation about that database.

For example, think about the police department’s crimes database, and let’s take Mayor Bloomberg’s lead and call it “­crimes.data.nyc.” By giving it an intuitive name - http:/ /www.crimes.data.nyc - ­you facilitate the work of ­programmers, but you also create a market place for that database. So at the crimes.data.nyc­­ URL you would find: ­

  • a detailed description of the data,
  • a link to download the raw data,
  • an ongoing conversation of how it “might” be used if only this or that was changed or added,
  • comments and possibly a discussion by people who object to it containing too much information,
  • a suggestion that a particular field should require privacy access­,
  • notations and links to the different apps where the data has been used, and

  • ­a civic advocate / entrepreneur match program for locating people with similar interests and a desire to jointly develop apps based on the crimes.data.nyc ­data set.

Learn more about this and see our council testimony.  (Commons Photo courtesy of equinoxefr.)­

Learn more about the Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages. ­­­

Filed June 30th, 2009 under Privacy, City Council, Domain Names, Oversight, Education
  1. I just returned - around 6 PM - from a run around the neighborhood during which I saw a fellow sleeping (passed out?) on the sidewalk where it passes under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

    How would it be, I wondered, if I was able to assign a URL to this fellow. That is, if upon returning home I’d of gone to the homeless.data.nyc database and created a URL about this fellow. And I started to imagine neighbors discussing his plight, with hospitals, the Salvation Army, and, if needed, city agencies engaging in a salvation effort.

    And I then thought about someone creating a URL about me. And linking it to other URLs where I’m mentioned. Somewhat like google does.

    And then I imagined this 2020 scenario: A latter day Mr. Rogers sits the children down, opens and begins reading from a book, “Once upon a time there was something called privacy…”


    Comment by Thomas Lowenhaupt on June 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

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