Free Our Data: the blog

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


Time for local government to think harder about opening its data

Chris Taggart gave a presentation earlier this month to APPSI – the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information – about opening up local government data.

Even without the actual talk (is it online anywhere in some form?), the slides make compelling reading. Local government, of course, can sometimes be just as bad as central government (or indeed trading funds) about hanging grimly on to its data, enforcing dubious or unnecessary copyright, and basically making peoples’ lives hard when it should be making it easier.

You can also read my thoughts on how local government could open itself up in an article for Society Guardian here, which has attracted some useful comments – and links to interesting sites.

But now, here’s the lecture. Flash required, of course.

5 Responses to “Time for local government to think harder about opening its data”

  1. MJ Ray Says:

    Flash required? Why are you basically making peoples’ lives hard when you should be making it easier?

    There is a transcript on the click-through, fortunately. It’s a bit disappointing to have data about freeing our data from the government that encourages people to fall into the thrall of Adobe, Inc instead.

  2. MJ Ray Says:

    By the way, your website has a broken anti-spam plugin installed, which sends PHP warnings like “Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie – headers already sent by (output started at /home/sites/freeourdata.org.uk/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/SK2/sk2_second_chance.php:2) in /home/sites/freeourdata.org.uk/public_html/blog/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-automatic-upgrade/wordpress-automatic-upgrade.php on line 121″

    I think SK2 is Spam Karma 2, which I criticised back in 2006 as “not only uses broken letter image tests just now, but sends rude error messages when you fail and has a broken trackback system that returns 403 Forbidden. If that’s the Spam Karma 2 mentioned in the footer, I suspect someone will be reincarnated as flame-roasted tinned meat soon.”

    I’m surprised anyone is still using it. It will be losing you comments.

  3. Charles Arthur Says:

    @MJ Ray – Flash is the most widely-distributed third-party plugin to browsers. It’s available on something upwards of 90% of browsers. I don’t call that making peoples’ lives harder, unless there’s an accessibility question.

    But yes, you’re right – there is a transcript of what is on the slides if you click through to the link and scroll down.

  4. John Drinkwater Says:

    If it’s not open to 100% of people, is it open at all? Would have thought this campaign could comprehend that.

  5. Richard Says:

    Give the guys who are running this site a break. I am grateful for the work that they are doing and the progress that is being made.

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