Free Our Data: the blog

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


Guardian praises Free Our Data (OK, well, not so surprising..)

This morning’s Guardian has as its third “leader” (the opinion slot where the paper points to issues of the day), which is always “in praise of…”.

And today it’s In praise of “Free Our Data”. Hey, we’re chuffed.

The piece itself says (in part)

Businesses and others could use the data to map cheaply where crimes happen, or how much traffic is on the roads. Enthusiasts for cliff-climbing could share tidal forecasts. Those against argue that the Ordnance Survey’s work is not entirely paid for by taxpayers, or warn that it could lead to the privatisation of all data collection. These are serious points, and they should be taken into account. But the momentum is in favour of freeing up data; Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson boasts that he wakes up and immediately thinks “How can I free another dataset?” One hopes that is not literally true, but the sentiment is appreciated.

I don’t know, I like the idea of Tom Watson getting up having thought about a new dataset to make available. Heaven knows there are plenty of them.

But please go to the site and join in on the comments, which includes one with some interesting points about the British Library. (I’m not certain of the funding status of the BL, so don’t know if it would fall under the FOD umbrella or not.) Opinions? I lean towards the idea that the BL’s manuscripts are pre-existing data, and so there has to be some sort of cost involved in getting them into digital form…

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