Today representatives from the UK government, the White House, the UN, the European Commission and over thirty countries are gathered in London to further open government information around the world. The two day event is being run by the Open Knowledge Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that has pioneered open data internationally and helped to build data.gov.uk.
Spearheaded by the Obama administration and the father of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the US and the UK have lead what is now becoming a global movement. This goes beyond traditional government websites and ensures that government data can be used by anyone to build new services, applications and much more.
„Open Data can improve public services, creates innovation and value, and leads to greater transparency and accountability”, says Nigel Shadbolt, who advises the UK government on public sector transparency.
“I hope that more will join the Open Government Data community to share these benefits and help us all do better still“, he says.
„Opening up government data is infectious“, says Jack Thurston co-founder of the Farm Subsidy project, „Once one country opens its data, the pressure builds on others to follow suit“.
In the past 18 months countries such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Spain have started initiatives to open up official information. And even the UN is now interested in how it can support lower and middle income countries to follow suit.
David Eaves, an advisor to the Mayor of Toronto, says: „What is today’s Open Government Data Camp about? It’s about helping build a 21st century citizenry. In the 19th century we didn’t build libraries for a literate citizenry. We built libraries to help citizens become literate. Today we build open data portals not because we have public policy literate citizens, we build them so that citizens may become literate in public policy.“
Dr. Rufus Pollock, Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation says:
„Opening up official information enables governments to harness external expertise to find better ways of doing things, from fixing potholes to fixing economies. We hope this event will help build momentum in this crucial area and encourage more governments to open up.“
The Open Government Data Camp takes place in London on 18-19th November 2010.