Media Advisory: Conference explores role of open data in democracy

ATTENTION: Reporters covering politics, public policy, big data, social media and civic engagement

WHAT:  Today’s open data movement offers opportunities to increase accountability and citizen participation through greater transparency and by generating more effective, crowd-sourced solutions to public problems. “Can Open Data Improve Democratic Governance?” is a one-day conference featuring presentations and discussions by thought leaders, executives and other experts from around the world regarding the promises and challenges of open data and how it affects public policy, democracy and the private sector.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will deliver the lunchtime keynote, “Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government.” He authored a 2013 book by the same title. IBM Information Strategist Steven Adler will deliver the closing keynote address.

The conference is presented by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies and the Data and Democracy Initiative at CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society). Co-sponsorship has been provided by California Forward, as well as UC Berkeley’s School of Information, the UC Berkeley Canadian Studies Program, and the Canadian Consul General/San Francisco-Silicon Valley.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 12

WHERE: Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, on the northeast side of the UC Berkeley campus.  A map of the campus is online.

WHO: For a complete list of conference speakers, visit the conference website. Listed below are just a few of the panel participants:

  • Carole Post, former New York City chief information officer and executive vice president of New York Law School
  • Jeanne M. Holm, chief evangelist for, part of the Obama administration effort to increase public access to data sets produced by the executive branch
  • Richard Stirling, program manager for the Open Data Institute in Great Britain
  • Laurenellen McCann, national policy director for the Sunlight Foundation, which works to make U.S. government data available to the public

DETAILS: Pre-registration is required. To register, click here.

There are a limited number of seats available for media. To make a reservation, check in here: Media wishing to cover the event may also contact Cheryl Martinez with CITRIS at