Feeds

UK.gov descales public data with new corp launch

But murky waters remain...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The UK government may have abolished a shedload of quangos in recent months, but the Cabinet Office has arguably just created a shiny, new one – step forward the Public Data Corporation.

Data and government bodies will be squished into one organisation to make yet-to-be-revealed datasets available to the public, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said yesterday.

However, the government said it would only “make more data free at the point of use, where this is appropriate and consistent with ensuring value for taxpayers’ money”.

That’s a statement that could worry open data advocates, who might be wondering if the announcement represents the ConDem Coalition’s first big effort to ringfence some information that the public wants to see freed up.

“At present many state agencies face a conflict between maximising revenues from the sale of data and making the data freely available to be exploited for social and economic gain,” said Maude.

“Creating the PDC will enable the conflicts at the least to be managed consistently with a view to opening up access, and at best to be eliminated."

The balancing act Maude alluded to is one that the Ordnance Survey agency has been tackling over the past few years.

It’s not yet clear if OS data that was recently set free by the UK’s mapmaker, which operates as a trading fund, will be served up via the newly created corporation.

An Ordnance Survey spokesman told The Register that it welcomed the coalition's creation of the PDC.

"Ordnance Survey is aware of the government plans to create a new Public Data Corporation and fully supports the drive to open up the use of data to support the transparency agenda. This was highlighted in April 2010 when Ordnance Survey released a diverse range of mapping data, for free, under OS OpenData."

He added that the OS would support the government's development of the corporation. However, the Cabinet Office is yet to outline what data will be pumped out of the PDC.

The government said yesterday that there will be "opportunities for private investment in the corporation". All of this seems to suggest that it wants to squeeze as much money out of the body as possible, while potentially paying what amounts to lip service to the public with the datasets it decides to set free. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.