The city of Palo Alto’s CIO explains the benefits of open data

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It took about 30 seconds for us to decide on the biggest cloud computing story of 2013: Revelations from Edward Snowden that the U.S. National Security Agency gathers  information about citizens from pretty much any IT company that matters, showed both the promise and risk of big data and cloud computing. We talk about the potential ramifications of that. We also wonder how much useful information the NSA can really get from Windows error reports.

Jonathan Reichental, CIO of City of Palo AltoAnd then we talk to Jonathan Reichental, CIO of the City of Palo Alto, about the benefits of the open data push. Imagine if all the utilities in your town —  cable, electricity, gas, water providers  — had access to the same data about public works projects.

In theory that would mean when a road has to be repaired they could all get in there and fix their cabling, pipelines etc. at once. Less digging, re-digging and paving. It may not be nirvana, but it would still be a pretty significant improvement to what happens now, at least in my neck of the woods. But first, as Reichental points out, we need to get that data out and accessible.

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