EC details data law revamp

Michael Carroll
13 Dec 2011

The European Commission today detailed a radical shake up of data laws designed to boost opportunities for web entrepreneurs, journalists and academics.

Digital Agenda vice president Neelie Kroes says the Open Data package will change the way administrations work by making all public data reusable. Sharing the information will maximize its value and make it easier for Europeans to generate rich new content, she claims.

The Commission plans to open its vault of public data by end 1H12, and proposes to establish a single mechanism for member states to make their own information available. The goal is to remove barriers such as the need for authorization before public data is reused, and to cut the cost of buying the information.

Cultural information held by libraries and museums is also covered by the scheme, though it will be up to the individual institutions to place a value on that data.

“This is a victory for those of use who believe that the best way to get value from data is to give it away,” Kroes says, adding. “It is also…a vote of confidence in the people of Europe. We trust you will do good things with this data.”

The Commission estimates the package will increase the value of public sector information from €32 billion per year currently, to €70 billion. All measures of the scheme are being backed by a €100 million research fund into improving data handling technologies.

While the plans are due to come into force in 2012, Kroes called on public authorities and businesses to get started as soon as possible. “You can give your data away now, and generate revenue and jobs.”

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