ICO hails publication of Open Data White Paper
29 June 2012
Posted by Samuel Couratin
The publication of the government's Open Data White Paper has been welcomed by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which hailed the document as complementing the "spirit of the Freedom of Information Act".
Unveiled on Thursday (June 28th), the publication promises to bring more transparency to public services, offering members of the public the opportunity to access information on everything from the performance of schools to rates for cancer survival.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham applauded the white paper for recognising that openness and transparency must be "central to the way modern public authorities operate".
He noted that the document also recognises that if the proposals are to prove successful then concerns over privacy must be addressed.
"We will continue to work with the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice to ensure that the open data agenda and the government's wider data sharing proposals increase transparency and accountability, while respecting the privacy rights of the UK citizen," the Information Commissioner explained.
In his foreword to the publication, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude claimed the plans will boost the economy, improve accountability and aid efficiency.
He acknowledged that the early years of an open government system will not be without their challenges, predicting "tricky, difficult and uncomfortable" times ahead.
However, Mr Maude stressed that the rewards will outweigh the potential negatives, with the ultimate prize being "effective, personalized and 21st century democracy".
"It's a more prosperous United Kingdom where the public services on which we all rely are strengthened and improved," he added.
Open Data strategies have been published by every government department, detailing the information that they will make available over the next two years and how they will encourage a market for it to be used.
Heralding the move, the Cabinet Office said the raft of data releases will have the power to make a positive change to people's lives.