I’ve been an advisor to the depury prime minister of Bulgaria for the past year and a half. And on this year’s OpenFest conference I tried to report on what we’ve achieved. It is not that much and there are no visible results, which is a bit disappointing, but we (a small motivated team) believe we have laid the groundwork for a more open, and properly built ecosystem for the government IT systems.
Just to list a few things – we passed a law that requires open sourcing custom-built government software, we opened a lot of data (1500 datasets) on the national open data portal, and we drew a roadmap of how existing state registers and databases be upgraded in order to meet modern software engineering best practices and be ready to meet the high load of requests. We also seriously considered the privacy and auditability of the whole ecosystem. We prepared the electronic identification project (each citizen having the option to identify online with a secure token), an e-voting pilot and so on.
Now that our term is at an end (due to the resignation of the government) we hope the openness-by-default will persist as a policy and the new government agency that we constituted would be able to push the agenda that has been laid out. Whether that will be the case in a complex political situation is hard to tell, but hopefully the “technical” and the “political” aspects won’t be entwined in a negative way. And our team will continue to support with advice (even though from “the outside”) whoever wishes to build a proper and open e-government ecosystem.