This year marks the 10th
anniversary of the year in which Mexico enacted its Access to Public
Information Law, which represented one of the most significant
accomplishments of Mexico’s democracy as it gave Mexican citizens the
right to demand the government’s accountability with regard to public
affairs. For the first time in Mexican history, our nation’s rulers
would be subject to the scrutiny of society and would be bound to answer
their requests for information in a timely and accurate manner. The
federal law’s enactment involved the creation of an institutional
framework to guarantee its application by the citizenry, and compliance
of the regulated entities. The Federal Institute for Access to Public
Information was created under this mandate, as a decentralized
organization with its own operations, budget and decision-making
autonomy. Furthermore, all Federal Public Administration agencies
created specialized liaison units to respond to requests for information
submitted by the citizenship. The policy and institutional changes that
occurred at the federal level were replicated in the states and in the
Federal District at their own pace and over the course of time.
In 2007, the struggles experienced after nearly three decades seeking
for the right to access information culminated with the addition of a
second part to Constitutional Article 6, which establishes that access
to information is a fundamental right of all Mexicans. The addition of
this fundamental right signified the beginning of a new chapter in our
nation’s institutional development, and the instatement of a new
government and citizenship culture. The right of access to information
followed its essential expansionary and logical path based on the terms
set forth in the 2007 reform. The enactment of the Federal Law on the
Protection of Personal Data held by Private Parties in 2010 was,
perhaps, the biggest challenge the Federal Institute of Access to Public
Information and Data Protection (IFAI) has faced since its foundation.
The guarantee of this right meant that the Institute would regulate two
different universes — the public and private worlds that would call for
substantial institutional adjustments. The IFAI is now facing
new challenges, ten years later. The prospect of a reform opens the door
to new opportunities that will serve to strengthen the right of access
to information and protection of personal data. This third issue of
“Privacy and Transparency” relates this fact. There is a global
consensus on the huge costs of corruption in society. In financial
terms, corruption generates direct social costs, wastes public resources
and discourages investment. In terms of governance and democracy,
corruption undermines the rule of law and violates the trust of citizens
in government institutions. Latin America, in particular, is one of the
regions of the world where the cost of corruption is more evident, and
where the most vulnerable sectors of society have been largely punished
with its vices. World Bank specialists on anti-corruption and governance
policy, Lisa Bhansali and Paulina Soto, prove this in their article
entitled “Strengthening Country Systems for Greater Transparency:
Lessons and Progress in Latin America”, where they reflect on the long
path Latin American democracies have followed in order to combat the
culture of secrecy and corruption in government structures. The authors
speak of the efforts made with respect to normative terms and the
institutional strengthening achieved by countries in the region over the
last 20 years, as well as the role played by multilateral agencies like
the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in promoting
best practices on democratic governance. One of the groups
expressing its strongest opposition to moving forward on transparency
and access to information in Latin America is the region’s political
parties. This opacity in management has generated a process of
decomposition among large segments of the political class and
discredited them before the electorate. Luis Carlos Ugalde, a former
President of the Federal Electoral Institute in Mexico, wrote the
article “Transparency of Political Parties, an Item Pending in Mexican
Democracy” in which he offers an analysis of the system currently used
to control Mexico’s political parties and explains how its imperfections
breed corruption. Ugalde highlights the importance of the Reform to the
Federal Law of Transparency that was approved this year, establishing
that political parties as subject to such reform. The war
against corruption must begin not only within government institutions,
but include efforts made by civil society, as well. Regardless of the
progress made in terms of institutional consolidation, the problem will
persist if society believes that corruption is an adequate mechanism for
interaction. In an interesting article entitled “Understanding
Corruption Practices and Contexts: the Legitimacy of the Legal
Framework” Manuel Alejandro Guerrero, professor at the Universidad
Iberoamericana, shows that the public’s belief regarding the
ineffectiveness of government institutions, combined with the belief
that the law is flexible, creates the perfect setting for corruption to
prevail. Guerrero uses this notion to conclude that public policy to
fight corruption should include promotion of law as one of its main
components, since institutional efforts to eradicate corruption will be
futile as long as the public continues to believe it is acceptable. The
interview section in this issue features an interesting conversation
with Pedro Salazar Ugarte, an expert in constitutional guarantees and
access to public information. Salazar explores some of the challenges
the IFAI will face next year once the new reform goes into effect. He
reflects on key issues and notes that the new federal law on
transparency will be only succeed if accompanied by a solid secondary
legislation. Furthermore, this issue’s regular sections include
specialized literature reviews, and information on relevant
dissertations and related websites. Beyond voting, citizenship
is built by participating in public affairs daily while a powerful tool
for citizen participation is the practice of our right to information.
This third issue of “Privacy and Transparency” outlines the agenda on
transparency, access to government information and data protection in a
framework of institutional renewal and reform, where perhaps the most
important challenge is to make the citizenship assume its right to
information and become the primary tool of interaction with its
The IFAI Ten Years On: An Assessment ahead of a New Reform.
While focusing on the Latin American region's experience and progress in fighting corruption and enhancing transparency during the last 20 years, the article seeks to share how international institutions have addressed the complexities of corruption through various systems. As a result, we have seen differing approaches put in place to support governments in their efforts to tackle this global issue through greater regional collaboration. In that sense, the article presents the most recent developments in both the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, focused on increasing recognition of country systems and the real need to strengthen institutions at the state and national levels, instead of 'ring-fencing' their operations. The article then suggests that such a strategy has the potential to induce deeper changes and lasting results in the fight against corruption and for greater transparency in the long term.
Departing from a revision of a wide range of empirical literature on corruption, this work contends that a crucial dimension for understanding the contexts where corruption practices occur is to focus on how the institutional and legal frameworks are regarded in a given society. The article proposes the existence of a trade-off between how people perceive the “honesty of institutions and their civil servants” and their own willingness in entering into corruption practices. Beneath such practices there is a worrisome finding that has recurrently appeared in the author’s field research: the institutional-legal framework in Mexico seems to be perceived as illegitimate, optional and inefficient. While this perception might imply bad news for consolidating the rule of law, and consequently democracy in Mexico, the author of this study ends up offering some positive findings: in the first decade of the transparency law, individuals seem to acknowledge some incipient optimistic changes.
The increasing technological shift provides an opportunity to create a new paradigm for the future of the public sector and the state. In this new context, citizens and civil society will be empowered to take on greater responsibility and start new partnerships with the public sector. Therefore, collaboration with citizens and civil society will become a cornerstone for future public sector reforms. Reinventing these new partnerships will surely be one of the key challenges faced by the public sector in the 21st century. In this report the OECD presents an overview of initiatives of 31 countries concerning efficient, effective public services and open and innovative government. It focuses on four core issues: delivery of public services in times of fiscal consolidation; a more effective and performance-oriented public service; promotion of open and transparent government; and strategies for implementation of a reform agenda.
Experiences in many countries with Freedom of Information acts or Access to Information legislation have raised a number of shared problems and concerns, but there has been very little discussion among historians and archivists internationally about dealing with these issues as well as reflecting on the benefits of access legislation. One of these issues is that the implementation of FOI conflicts with the orderly processing of Government records because it is difficult to do both things at the same time. As FOI is implemented over time, it becomes harder and harder for hard‐pressed officials to fulfill FOI requests within the legislated time limit. This is a problem that seems to be endemic to FOI regimes in many countries.
This volume is one of the first to compare and reflect upon both the successes and difficulties of FOI across the world. Written by an international mixture of senior archivists and historians, it will appeal across the disciplines of history and archive studies.
The rise of open data in the public sector has sparked innovation, driven efficiency, and fueled economic development. While still emerging, we are seeing evidence of the transformative potential of open data in shaping the future of our civic life, and the opportunity to use open data to reimagine the relationship between residents and government, especially at the local level. Edited by Brett Goldstein, former Chief Data Officer for the City of Chicago, this book features essays from over twenty open government pioneers that discuss issues of relevance in the open data movement and the practical implications of implementing these policies. Beyond Transparency is a cross-disciplinary survey of the open data landscape, in which practitioners share their own stories of what they have accomplished with open civic data. It seeks to move beyond the rhetoric of transparency and towards action and problem solving. Through these stories, the book proposes that it is needed to build an ecosystem in which open data can become the raw materials to drive more effective decision-making and efficient service delivery, spur economic activity, and empower citizens to take an active role in improving their own communities.
The public sector is characterized by a profound transformation across the globe, the scope and ramifications of which have yet to be interpreted. In order for this act of transformation to be converted into an ongoing state of improvement, policymakers and civil service leaders must learn to implement and evaluate change in the public sector. Reforming the Public Sector is an important contribution to that end. By placing their approach to public administration reform in a broad international context the authors included in this volume identify a road map for public management and offer us a better understanding about the principles underpinning ongoing reforms in the public sector. Some of the specific issues addressed in this book include the uses and abuses of public sector transparency, the "audit explosion," and the relationship between public service motivation and job satisfaction.
Fiscal transparency is important for two reasons: First, because people have a right to know what their governments do with public resources; second, because it reshapes the relationship between governments and their citizens. When governments publish more information on their fiscal operations, citizens can better monitor government actions and hold them accountable for how they raise and spend public resources. Around the world, public officials responsible for public budgeting are facing demands —from their own citizenry, other government officials, economic actors, and increasingly from international sources —to make their patterns of spending more transparent and their processes more participatory. By answering the questions of how and why do improvements in fiscal transparency and participation come about?, how are they sustained over time?, when and how do increased fiscal transparency and participation lead to improved government responsiveness and accountability? Khagram, Fung and de Renzio, seek to solve the lack of rigorous analysis of the causes and consequences of fiscal transparency.
We all know that Google stores huge amounts of information about everyone who uses its search tools, that Amazon can recommend new books to us based on our past purchases, and that many governments have engaged in many data-mining activities to acquire information about us, including involving telecommunications companies in monitoring our phone calls. Control over access to private information is raising new challenges for those anxious to protect our privacy. In Privacy Rights, the professor of the University of Washington, Adam Moore, adds informational privacy to physical and spatial privacy as fundamental to developing a general theory of privacy that is well grounded morally and legally. The author provides a set of tools, in the form of principles, arguments, and examples, to help us rigorously put current intuitions about privacy to the test. This volume is a significant contribution to the literature because it links the theory of privacy defended with other established views in the literature, but goes beyond that and adds new arguments and justifications.
In 2006 the Indian Government launched a policy initiative to reform provision of public services using information technology services. Political forces have resisted, for varying reasons, from allowing this to happen in a full-fledged way. Through the investigation of a new era of administrative reform, in which digital technologies may be used to facilitate citizens' access to the state, Jennifer Bussell tries to explain why some governments improve public services more effectively than others. Drawing on a sub-national analysis of twenty Indian states, a field experiment, statistical modeling, case studies, interviews of citizens, bureaucrats, and politicians, and comparative data from South Africa and Brazil, Bussell shows that the extent to which politicians rely on income from petty and grand corruption is closely linked to variation in the timing, management, and comprehensiveness of reforms. The volume is essential to scholars interested in both corruption and Indian politics, as well as practitioners and promoters of reform in public service delivery more generally.
Democratic transition has failed to make local urban governments in Mexico more responsive to the public interest. This critical problem is made evident by the persistence of corruption in the form of bribery, shirking, influence, cronyism and nepotism. In examining why the problem of corruption remains entrenched, the central thesis of Lagunes is that free and fair elections have failed to make local governments in Mexico more responsive to the public interest because of institutional factors that are beyond the voters' immediate realm of influence. These factors are special interest groups that rely on corruption to achieve dishonest ends; a vitiated bureaucracy; a flawed legal framework; an ineffective judicial system; and impunity. In order to disrupt the corrupt status quo and deliver on the democratic promise of heightened accountability, this dissertation puts forth an empirically tested policy recommendation: external audits. The author concludes that newly democratized regimes that face entrenched corruption should depend on scrupulous and targeted external audits in order to heighten government responsiveness to the public interest.
External audit agencies are an integral part of the system of checks and balances. However, little is known about what explains their effectiveness and what determines their performance. Combining quantitative and qualitative research techniques, the dissertation investigates the political economy of government auditing and budget oversight in emerging economies. Building on earlier findings on the role of political institutions in economic performance, it develops a conceptual framework to assess the effectiveness of external audit agencies. Gathering quantitative data for ten Latin American countries, it develops a performance indicator to assess the links between external auditing and fiscal governance. It then investigates three case studies, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, illustrating the three main models of external auditing. Interestingly, the research reveals a paradox of independence: while external audit agencies must be sufficiently autonomous to be effective and credible, they need to develop efficacious relations with the other components of the system of fiscal control with the necessary powers to enforce accountability on government, in particular parliaments. This research expands knowledge on oversight agencies and opens avenues for further research on the role of parliaments in public budgeting.
Current scholarly understanding of information security regulation is limited. Several competing mechanisms exist, many of which are untested in the courts and before state regulators, and new mechanisms are being proposed on a regular basis. Perhaps of even greater concern, the pace at which technology and threats change far outpaces the abilities of even the most sophisticated regulators. Based on the American case, Thaw´s dissertation focuses on understanding how these laws are classified, what effects they have, and what are the implications of these effects for organizations and professionals. The author draws two conclusions. First, the combination of laws and management-based "regulatory delegation" models together is better at preventing breaches of personal information by organizations than is either model alone. Second, compliance-oriented prescriptive legislation weakens the role of security professionals within organizations, while management-based regulatory delegation models strengthen the role of professionals within organizations.
The costs of traditional primary data collection have risen dramatically over the past decade. Sharing of administrative record data between federal agencies has the potential to increase the information that is available for policy makers while saving money. Significant policy issues related to safeguarding privacy and confidentiality, as well as questions about data quality have resulted in barriers that slow down or stop record sharing. This dissertation employs two exploratory case studies to examine the creation of integrated data sets among three American government agencies, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The study found that each agency involved in sharing administrative records is governed by a different set of statutes and regulations that only partially overlap. This patchwork of laws and regulations greatly slows down the initiation of record sharing projects. There are no mature government-wide shared processes or criteria for reviewing or approving projects involving multiple agencies. The current processes are slow and burdensome and discourage initiation of new projects.
The purpose of this research is to determine to what extent an agency's Knowledge Management Practices influence the successful transformation of the agency to a citizen-centered, results-oriented and market-driven e-government. A survey was conducted with Knowledge Management (KM) practitioners in federal agencies to find out which KM Practices were implemented by the agencies, and assess their perception of the successful results realized in their agencies from the implementation of KM Practices. One of the central findings of this study was that in order to implement e-government practices it is necessary to move away from agency cultures of bureaucracy to organizations that are flexible, adaptable and open, which better fit the needs of the twenty-first century.
Advances in technology are shifting the focus of privacy concerns; for example, common transactions can generate information that is collected imperceptibly, and easily manipulated by ever improving automatic processes. It has become impractical and often undesirable, to prevent personal information collection, processing and use, but these are just the actions that policies have targeted to prevent privacy harms. Approaches to policy will need to adapt to secure privacy in an increasingly connected world. To determine how, Corliss reviews the history of privacy theory, beginning with its roots in the idea of a public-private divide and tracing its development to identify useful conceptions of privacy with which to evaluate policy. This discussion frames a look at recent and contemporary laws that protect privacy, and establishes the conceptual underpinnings of the prominent approaches to privacy. Based in this foundation, the author presents policy recommendations that realistically address privacy concerns.
In the last two decades, openness of public budgeting processes garnered the attention of governments, non-governmental organizations and donors, evidenced by a proliferation of budget transparency and accountability initiatives worldwide. Designed to facilitate productive citizen-government interactions around resource allocation, open budgeting initiatives should contribute to strengthening public trust in political institutions. Using corruption perceptions as a measure of public trust, this study analyzes the relationship between the openness evident in the budgeting processes of 70 countries and corruption perceptions over a five-year period (2006-2010). This study shows that the cumulative effect of the components of transparency, consultation and monitoring may have a stronger impact on perceptions of anti-corruption effectiveness and government corruption than they do as stand-alone activities.
This dissertation presents an understanding of the role of transparency in the communication processes of agencies of the United States Federal Government, as guided by principles of stakeholder management, models of public relations, and a model for government agency communication. These theories and models all suggest that increased openness in organizations will result in improved organizational functioning and in some instances, increases in organizational trust. The perspectives presented in this paper were collected through eighteen semi-structured in-depth interviews of professional communicators for various agencies in the United States Federal Government. The data shows that government communicators recognize the need for transparency in a democratic government, and also illustrates factors that both enhance and constrain transparency. This study illustrates government communicators understand the value of transparency in communication practices and provides a model for transparency in government agency communication. The research also shows a need for future research to strengthen theory, expand models, and provide examples of how to effectively implement transparency enhancing practices in government communication.
This is the transparency website created by the Institute of Social Security Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) that features three tools to query information relevant to users and beneficiaries. The first tool allows users to query the updated list of ISSSTE retirees. The next tool includes the full list of registered beneficiaries and allows users to verify the correct application of the contributions paid and years of seniority recorded. The third tool is the supply control panel that allows beneficiaries to query the availability of the medication or medical supplies required by a beneficiary’s medical unit. Transparencia Mexicana periodically tests these tools through a Citizens Report that is also available on the same website.
This website developed by the Municipality of Naucalpan offers its residents an interactive tool they can use to submit requests or direct reports to the City Council in a fast and secure manner. Some of the services featured by this application include basic grocery baskets, home improvements and legal advice. Residents can also report potholes, problems with the sewer, street lighting, cleaning, pavement and sidewalk systems. All requests and reports are sent through an online format or through social networks or SMSs or by phone. The application also features a query service citizens can use to consult the progress made on their requests, as well as georeferenced information on matters addressed.
This website developed by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) provides interactive ratings on State and Municipal Budget Information. These ratings assess the quality of budget information provided by all 32 Mexican states and 364 municipalities, according to the best practices catalog that includes matters related to transparency, and access to information and open data. The web page provides fact sheets describing the strengths and weaknesses of each state and its municipalities with respect to their budget information and global economic data. It also offers a tool to compare budget information between states and municipalities. The website contains information from 2008 through 2012, the year in which the IMCO published the latest Budget Information Index.
The Government of the State of Sonora designed the Transparent Sonora Portal website to integrate government information for its citizens. In addition to providing information that must be made public by law, such as its directory, organizational structure, and rules and wages, among other data, it also provides performance indicators by the agency and industry, and quick procedure guides and agency evaluations on compliance with their obligations related to transparency and access to public information, and statistics on information request services. The website also offers users a tool they can use to file complaints against civil servants and report the misuse of official vehicles. The Transparent Sonora Portal is one of the few statewide efforts that have focused on transparency in Mexico.
This is the website the British Government uses to publish government data in compliance with “open data” parameters. Users can download more than 10,000 databases from all government agencies and some local authorities in different formats. Information published on the web page is able to develop applications or analyze public policies implemented by the government. The portal features a text search engine to query databases, and an advanced search engine based on georeferenced information provided through maps. This georeferenced search engine allows users to select an area on a map to see all databases associated with that location. The website also features the option of querying information contained in databases that are not yet available on the portal. The data.gov.uk portal is probably the best example of an open data public policy worldwide.
The Open Government Partnership website is a multilateral initiative created to foster transparency practices, empower citizens, fight corruption and use information technologies to strengthen democratic governance among partner countries. The initiative was founded in 2011 by Mexico, Brazil, Great Britain, the United States, Indonesia, Norway, the Philippines and South Africa and is currently supported by the governments of 60 countries. This website provides information on each member country’s action plans, listing each government’s commitments and the relevant developments and events related to open government in each nation. Mexico is currently working on one of its commitments that consist of developing a single government portal (www.gob.mx).
This is the website managed by the Central Information Commission of India, the government agency responsible for ensuring and promoting the right of access to public information. Citizens that do not receive the information they seek can go to this website to register and track their complaints online. The process consists of having the Commission consider the complaint and issue an opinion that may require the agency to deliver the requested information or verify that the data does not exist or is reserved. Applicants can appeal the Commission’s decision online. The web page also displays information on the Commission’s structure, and its members and guidelines that can be used to draft complaints and appeals. This is one of the most significant decisions the Commission made in June 2013, when it determined that political parties are bound to disclose information about the public funds they receive.
This website can be used to query the Global Right to Information Rating prepared by Access Info Europe, an NGO promoting the right to information in Europe, and the Center for Law and Democracy, a Canadian civil organization that promotes the right to information, participation and freedom of expression. The objective of the Rating is to evaluate the strength of the regulatory frameworks related to the right to information in 89 countries by assessing the following seven areas: the right to information, procedures used to apply for data, exceptions and denial of the applications, appeals, sanctions and safeguards, and promotional mechanisms. According to the index, Mexico ranks sixth on the right to access information. Serbia is ranked in the first position with the Dominican Republic ranked in the last position.
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