Free our Bills!

Free Our Bills! is a campaign led by a cheeky platypus, just escaping from the portcullis of Parliament. Sign up now, or read on…

Sometimes data being free isn’t good enough – it needs to be released in a properly structured format. If you want to reproduce the text of Bills (proposed new laws in the UK), you can get a reasonably good click-use license and go for it.

However, the PDF or HTML you get is not very intelligible to machines. For example, consider the current version of the controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. It contains lots of amendments of an earlier 1990 act, and it is very hard to follow without being able to see how those amendments alter the earlier act. As the data isn’t structured, nobody can easily make a user interface to do this. If the Bill was published in a 21 century way, then lots of people could and would do so. This is just one example – there are lots of other ways the data for bills and amendments could be better structured, and more timely.

It’s an esoteric campaign, but a very important one. Having good quality law is vital to all of us. So please do sign up now, and help get Parliament to publish Bills better!