Free Our Data: the blog

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

Which organisations should we be chasing? Let’s make a list..

One thing that we haven’t done yet – at least, not in full – is to draw up a list of organisations that are government-owned (ie the government is the only shareholder) and which collect and then sell back our data. Often they use the excuse of being “trading funds” – ie told by the Treasury to go out and earn their keep – to claim that they’re not government-funded. But it’s rather like a child still living with its parents. If the trading funds went massively into debt, would the government – of any political colour – shut down Ordnance Survey or the UK Hydrographic Office? We think not. So, they’re really taxpayer-owned. That’s our data!

So, who is there? Off the cuff we can think of the Ordnance Survey; UK Hydrographic Office; Highways Agency (does it have an equivalent in Scotland?); Post Office. Who else is there?

Once we do that, we can begin to frame precisely what access we do want, and create a campaign statement that can be framed in precise terms. That’s the sort of thing that ministers, MPs and senior civil servants find compelling.

Contributions welcome, as always.

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