In a speech today, the Leader of the Opposition in the UK said some interesting things about freeing up Government information. He begins with some general open information philosophy:

But look at our Government at home.

It’s still bureaucratic, still top-down and still old-world.

It still thinks it knows best and that it should keep all the information.

Then a reminder of a Bill the Conservatives tried to pass last year about open Government financial information:

That’s why we have introduced a House of Commons bill that will require the government to publish – online and accessible to all – every single item of expenditure over £25,000.

It already happens in the US.

They call it “Googling Your Tax Dollars”.

And then the new bit – a very general promise about local Government information:

We will require local authorities to publish this information – about the services they provide, council meetings and how councillors vote – online and in a standardised format.

Nothing about the licensing to be used, and short on detail about the scope of the information (will it include bus timetables?). But that’s not surprising in a high level speech – now’s the time to push the Tories to use a proper Open Knowledge Definition conformant license, and to include a good scope of information.

And now’s the time to push anybody you know in the Labour party, so we can get the data now, rather than having to wait until at least 2010…

+ posts

CEO of ScraperWiki. Made several of the world's first civic websites, such as TheyWorkForYou and WhatDoTheyKnow.