Threat to Open Data withdrawn by French Parliament
Madrid/Paris, 20 December 2010 – Access Info Europe and Regards Citoyens welcomed the withdrawal on 16 December 2010 of a proposed amendment to France’s security and access to information laws which would have required background behaviour checks on users of government information.
The proposed amendment was significantly changed in the French parliament on Thursday 16 December following an international campaign by 35 organisations and experts from 25 countries which had raised concerns that the new law would seriously constrain both access to information and freedom of expression. Read the campaign letter (here).
As a result, multiple members of parliament from all political groups proposed either to change the dangerous amendment or to withdraw it. The version eventually adopted no longer refers to France’s access to information law and only requires “morality” checks on users of the national database of car number plates.
Letter to the French MPs
Press release: Global protest against controls on use of public information, 14 December 2010
Press release: France proposes behaviour checks on users of public information, 22 November 2010
Beyond Access: Pre-Publication Version
London, 19 November 2010: Access Info Europe and the Open Knowledge Foundation today presented the pre-publication version of their report Beyond Access: Open Government Data and the “Right to Reuse” at the Open Government Data Camp in London.
This report, written in collaboration with the Open Society Institute Information Program and initially launched in August, has been through some minor revisions following a public consultation.
Beyond Access - the Main Findings
Finding 1 - There are serious shortcomings in the current international and national standards defining the scope of the right of access to information, resulting in the release of information in formats that cannot be reused.
Finding 2 – Future transparency standards should be anticipated now, both to reduce technical obstacles to releasing the information down the line, and from a policy perspective to harness the full democratic potential of government data.
What is open government data?
Open government data is about getting access to information held by government bodies formats that anyone can use for any purpose. To qualify as “open”, it must be possible for the data to come in formats which allows it to be freely copied, shared, combined with other material, or republished as part of websites which allow users to explore, analyze, visually represent, or comment on the material, as well as transform it into other formats.
Examples of the datasets held by governments which can, potentially, be opened up range from national statistics to budgetary information, from parliamentary records to data about the locations of schools, hospitals, crimes, or post boxes.
The open government data movement is calling for the proactive dimension of the right of access to information to be extended to raw data and entire databases.
To know more about this movement and its relation with the right of access to information read the Beyond Access Report.
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