A recent article asks the question, “What’s the link between open data and access to information?” The article states, “The lack of connection that exists between activists working in both communities… prevents realising the issue.  This civil servant was really interested in how this new evolution would affect the relationship between citizens and the State. The key connection, and it is not always explicit, between open data and access to information is placed in the so called duties of proactive transparency that Freedom of Information Laws impose on States and that actually mandate [the publishing of] certain categories of information proactively, in an easy and accessible way, so citizens can benefit from it.”

It continues, “There are two main areas where challenges [lay] ahead: policy formulation and management of open data policies. In terms of management, all public administrations face problems in terms of archiving and managing information. Public Servants, due to the set of incentives their organization have, are not very keen on sharing information (even among themselves).”

The article adds, “In terms of the policies themselves there are a set of issues to debate. What licenses around use and reuse of data should be established? Should the administration charge for public information? Another issue is the technical standard around information provision. Should we promote the adoption of an RDF standard in line [with] what Tim Berners Lee has proposed to promote a semantic web? Or should we just let the government publish information and see how the users cope with that?”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ George Eastman House