Free and Open Data Makes Waves and Maybe Money in UK Once Again

July 25, 2012

While some people sit and talk if free and open data is beneficial, the United Kingdom has reiterated their commitment to the open data project originally launched in 2010. O’Reilly Radar explains that the British government believes open data will spur more transparency and economic prosperity in “UK Cabinet Office Relaunches Data.gov.uk, Releases Open Data White Paper.”

The first step for publicity involved the Cabinet Office hosting an event in London to promote the release of a white paper on “unleashing the potential of open data.” The relaunch of the UK’s open data platform available at Data.gov.uk invariably ensued. The site currently boasts over 9,000 data sets.

Author Dr. Ben Goldacre made the following comments in regards to the UK government’s stance:

‘[Data is] the 21st century’s raw material, that it has economic and social benefits, that privacy issues need caution, and so on. That in itself is reassuring, as governments can sometimes be completely clueless about this kind of stuff. They also get the nerdy details: that standards matter, and so on. Also, all the stuff about building reciprocal relationships with developers, building coder capacity, two way relationships to improve datasets etc is all great.’

While an informed and aware constituency feels at ease with ideals like transparency in place, open data has its pitfalls. Let us remember that free and open can go too far.

Megan Feil, July 25, 2012

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