Data governance

Hong Kong urged to continue improving data governance

Hong Kong’s overall data release record improved slightly due to improvements in the transportation and weather categories, the latest Hong Kong Open Data Index report showed.

The city’s overall score fell from 69.9 to 72.4 last year, according to the report released Thursday by the Internet Society Hong Kong Chapter. It assesses and monitors progress in releasing public data in Hong Kong against international standards.

Hong Kong Open Data Index researcher Benjamin Zhou (left), ISOC HK Director Ben Cheng (center) and ISOC HK Open Data Committee Head Wong Ho-wa (right). Photo: Internet Society Hong Kong Chapter.

But there was no improvement in the five worst-ranked categories: business registration, land, justice and security, housing, and government operations.

Researcher Benjamin Zhou said the provision of the estimated arrival time of Kowloon fixed-route minibuses and motor buses on the government’s Public Service Information (PSI) portal was the main reason for the increased scores for the transportation category, which rose ten per cent from 76.9 to 85.

“With the estimated arrival time information of bus operators including New World First Bus, Citybus, New Lantao Bus and MTR released last year, at this time most public transport operators, following the company and industry calls, released their estimated time of arrival data as open data,” Zhou said.

The city also scored higher in the weather category, which rose 16% from 70 to 81.3 as the Hong Kong Observatory released more real-time datasets on the PSI portal. over the past two years.

Data governance

The index also cited the Global Data Barometer (GDB), which looked at data governance, capacity, availability, use and impact in 109 countries and regions around the world. The GDB report showed that data governance was Hong Kong’s weakest area among the four criteria.

Comparison of data categories from the 2019/20 report and the 2021/22 report of the Hong Kong Open Data Index. Photo: Internet Society Hong Kong Chapter.

In response to the GDB report, the Hong Kong Chapter of the Internet Society urged the government to form a high-level committee to “address institutional barriers”, “establish a clear vision and goals” for the data governance, “building a data ecosystem” that encourages public engagement and improves data literacy among the public and in the public sector.

The head of the chapter’s open data committee, Wong Ho-wa, said the lack of some Covid-19 data showed the problem of data governance in the city.

“These prove that in the absence of good data governance, when data can be lost at any time or not be published, it violates to some extent the public’s right to be consulted and the public interest,” Wong said.