EU Digital Commissioner: Open Public Data, The Oil Of The Digital AgePublished on 5 March 2012 @ 7:20 pm
Intellectual Property Watch
Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, today called for public data to be opened up for all to use, somewhat akin to providing the free oil of the digital age.
“Let me underline one initiative that I am supporting to make digital technology work for governance and transparency: by opening up public data. In the digital age, data takes on a whole new value, and with new technology we can do great things with it. Opening it up is not just good for transparency, it also stimulates great web content, and provides the fuel for a future economy,” she said in prepared remarks entitled, “From Crisis of Trust to Open Governing“, given today in Bratislava, Slovakia.
“That’s why I say that data is the new oil for the digital age. How many other ways could stimulate a market worth 70 billion euros a year, without spending big budgets? Not many, I’d say,” she said. “So we are planning to shake up how public authorities share data. We have recently proposed amendments to the Public Sector Information Directive: these would make it cheaper, simpler and more automatic for you to use and re-use public data.”
“Under our proposals,” Kroes added, “instead of needing complicated authorisations, people would be automatically allowed to re-use public data. And we propose to extend the existing rules to valuable cultural material from libraries, archives and museums: while recognising their special commercial vulnerability.”
Kroes concluded with a nod to the delicate balance western diplomats are straddling to encourage openness online while encouraging strong intellectual property rights. “[F]reedom of speech, in particular on the internet, is something that needs to be protected too. This is something I am particularly vigilant about,” she said. “Transparency does not mean that privacy disappears nor that everything is made available without respecting the rights of individuals, including their property rights and their private data. Collectively, we need to become more sophisticated about these issues, so that rights and responsibilities are fully preserve and enhanced, and so that we can be safe and experience open democracy.”