Government Data

The new UK coalition government has been making some interesting policy decisions around government data extending some of the work already underway under the previous Labour administration. For example see the prime minister’s Letter to Government departments on opening up data issued on Monday 31 May 2010.

The conservative party (majority partner in the coalition) technology manifesto is well worth looking over for anyone interested in data and IT policy in the UK and an indicator of what might still be coming out of the new government.

In addition, to plans to open up government data and spending information it refers to research by Rufus Pollock et al at Cambridge University on the economic value of open data, which estimated it will create an estimated £6 billion in additional value for the UK. This boost to British jobs will come from the synergies and positive spillover benefits that result from businesses and social entrepreneurs building new applications and services using previously locked-up government data.

It is fascinating to see how big an effect on UK government policy advocacy by the likes of the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Free Our Data campaign has had. Of course it helps if similar initiatives are underway in the USA – see the Wired interview with the US government’s first-ever chief information officer, Vivek Kundra.

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