Government u-turn on vital public data

Government u-turn on vital public data

Thursday 6 October 2011

Transparency activists are demanding the new Public Data Corporation proposal is rewritten from scratch, claiming the current scheme is a “bodge” and a “betrayal”.

The “Ernest Marples” activists say the Corporation will betray coalition promises to create full government transparency and fuel an open data revolution.

Instead, the activists claim, the Corporation will be forced to continue sell vital data sets, in order to attract private investment.

These data sets, like maps, weather records and land registers, are seen by transparency activists as vital “infrastructure” to enable other data to be properly understood. The campaigners say they are vital for democracy and innovation.

The campaign is supported by companies and citizen groups.

Francis Irving, CEO of Scraperwiki said:

“We are a silicon valley style start-up that absolutely depends on open data. The PDC consultation is a farce and the civil servants and vested interests involved should hang their heads in shame.”

Emma Mulqueeny, Director of Rewired State said:

Open data is critical to this country maintaining its position as respected global digital leaders, with our first-to-market moves through It seems insane that there is even deliberation about this.”

Harry Metcalfe is available for interview. Please call 07790 559876 or email


the campaign website

link to pdc consultation

wider open data policy consultation (in contradiction with above) 

The Ernest Marples group forced the government to freely publish post code geodata, after a direct action data campaign in 2009. They successfully argued that post code look ups were a vital way for people to find government services and information.

The Open Rights Group is a digital rights advocacy group based in the UK. It aims to increase awareness of digital rights issues, help foster grassroots activity and preserve civil liberties and consumer rights in the digital age.

To find out more about the Open Rights Group visit

Further information: Javier Ruiz / 07877 911 412