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.

    The following posts may be related...(the database guesses):