Free Our Data: the blog

A Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens

Government widens click-use licence.. but wants more money from its users

The Office of Public Sector Information has widened the organisations that will be able to license “core data” through the click-use licence, according to the What’s New page:

From 1 April 2006 the Click-Use Licence is being extended to cover information produced by public sector organisations such as local authorities, the NHS, police and fire services.

However, while that’s welcome – because click-use should mean that you can use data licensed that way as you want, without worries about whether it’s for commercial re-use, private enjoyment or (even) undercutting an existing commercial service – there is a fly in the ointment. Two, actually.

First, it will be voluntary for these organisations to provide data in this way. They don’t have to do it.

Secondly – and this is perhaps the killer – local authorities (which have the potential to provide so much mapping and postcode data which could be patched together, because in many cases they originate it) are now under pressure to bring down council tax by whatever means they can; which includes selling information. Obviously, if you’re a councillor considering the best route to keep the council tax bill down, one thing you’ll probably cross off your list quite early is making data available for free. Anyone who knows an argument to the contrary, please give it..

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