Data.gov.uk explains ‘Public Data‘ as ‘the objective, factual, non-personal data on which public services run and are assessed, and on which policy decisions are based, or which is collected or generated in the course of public service delivery.’
The release of ‘public data’ will be regarded as one of the most significant government policy programmes of this century because of its economic, political and social disruption. Although it is still in its infancy, the UK’s ‘Public Data’ initiative, which was started by the Labour government, has survived the transition to the Coalition. The Coalition have consciously nurtured ‘Public Data’; if anything the Government has turned things up a notch.
Try to choke it in its sleep or hang it in full-view, in truth there would be no way that any government could get away with killing off ‘Public Data’ once it has taken root. The release of data into the public domain by governments is, after all, the latest in a long term trend toward more openness and transparency in public administration. It is one perfectly in tune with and enabled by the digital age.
But while it might intrinsically feel like one of the most significant things to happen to UK democracy, hang on. How do we know? Where’s the proof? Can we say with confidence that the release of data held by government is good? Continue reading “Government data in the public domain – intrinsically good, right?”