The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Here is the video and full text for Neelie Kroes’s address at Open Government Data Camp 2011.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Opening up public data will foster the participation of citizens in political and social life, increase the transparency of public administration, and improve public decision making.

Public data is also an essential raw material of the Digital Single Market, a treasure trove for creating new products and services. These will help us address the challenges we face in areas such as transport, energy and health. They will make our lives easier. And they represent important new opportunities for innovative businesses. The overall economic gain could amount to tens of billions of euros, every year.
Therefore my goal is to promote creative and innovative re-use of public data. By making public data as widely available as possible, to citizens and businesses alike.
I want to see Europe at the forefront of this development. To this end I am preparing an Open Data Strategy for November which will comprise a number of elements.
* First, on the legislative side, I will propose changes to the PSI Directive, which has governed the re-use of public sector information since 2003, to make it more effective.
* Second, I will explain why opening up this public resource is a good investment. Let me focus on just one aspect today: How large is this investment, really, in the long run? Not very large if we make everything accessible by default, by building this into our public administrations’ systems and processes. And even smaller if we also get rid of case-specific licences and controls and make everything re-usable by default. Restrictions should have to be justified, not disclosure.
* Third, we in the Commission need to practice what we preach: Therefore,
o we will update the rules for the disclosure and re-use of the data we collect; and by next spring, we will launch a portal to make our data accessible and re-usable. I hope that this can expand to cover other EU institutions and agencies soon.
* And fourth, we plan to launch a pan-European Open Data portal in 2013. It will federate existing portals, gradually expanding to cover datasets produced by public administrations at all levels: from local to European.
Open data for Europe can only work in a bottom-up, federated fashion. It requires knowledge and dedication at all levels, in the public sector and among data re-users. This is a collective effort to make our society a better place.
There is no doubt in my mind that events such as the Open Government Data Camp, held in Warsaw this week, contribute a lot to this. I wish you very fruitful discussions!

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Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.

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