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Boris bares data bunker

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Efforts to open up datasets held by public bodies will receive a big boost today, with Boris Johnson announcing he will publish reams of crime, education, environmental and health information from London's archives.

Some 200 local authority and City Hall datasets will be made available via the "London Datastore", a new website launching 29 January.

Johnson said: "I firmly believe that access to information should not just be the preserve of institutions and a limited elite.

"Data belongs to the people, particularly that held by the public sector, and getting hold of it should not involve a complex routine of jumping through a series of ever decreasing hoops."

He claimed the move was a "potential money-spinner" for London's software developers.

Johnson's plan for the capital is in line with national Tory policy. With close links to Google, and having hired mySociety chief Tom Steinberg as an adviser, at the party conference last year they pledged to publish "20 of the most socially useful" government datasets within the first 12 months of a Conservative administration.

The current government has also made tentative steps towards wider data access and use.

The Mayor will be joined at his announcement this afternoon by Obama's CTO Aneesh Chopra, via a web link-up from CES. He has led efforts by the US to make data held by federal organisations available at Data.gov.

"The US has led the way on this idea of setting their data free for anyone - students, campaigners, software developers – to use," Johnson said.

"Now it’s time for Britain to get up to speed and I want London, as the greatest city in the UK, to be at the forefront of this revolution."

An early version of the London Datastore is available here. ®

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