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UK open data "failed opportunity" says founding academic

Computer Weekly - The UK has sent the world's open data movement up a wrong turn, fear its greatest advocates, by easing restrictions on profits that can be earned from the sale of public data.

Their fears were roused by a reboot of regulations that will make it easier for public bodies to sell data. This was contrary to the campaign promises of the coalition government's Conservative leadership, who said they would make public bodies publish their databases as open data. Public data was to be put in public hands for the public good.

The new rules, to be drafted in December, will permit those quasi-public bodies who hold the most valuable public data to continue selling it for profit.

Open data advocates linked to prime minister David Cameron's initiative called an alarm after the National Archives put the new rules out to routine consultation in the summer. One key part of the new rules was how much profit should people be permitted to make from public data. The Archives left this part of its proposals blank.

The government has meanwhile been selling choice public data assets off, eyeing others for long-term lease to entrepreneurs, and putting others at the heart of international expansion plans for those quasi-public data bodies, which the government has subjected to a systematic programme of privatization since it came to power.