Free Essay

The Release of Non-Personal Data to the Public

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By thegroovycooler
Words 6923
Pages 28
Table of Contents

Introduction 2 Strengths 3
Increases the possibility of good information solutions 3
Increases Innovation and Economic Growth 3
Greater availability & comprehension of useful data 4
Generates possibilities for new "mash-up" of previously uncombined data 4
Removes Boundaries 4
Cost & Workload 5 Weaknesses 5
Non personal data being abused 5
Timing 6
Lack of control 6
Workload &Cost 7
Statistical misinformation 8 Initiatives by government and non-governmental agencies 9
Government 9 Non-governmental agencies 11 Innovated uses for Government data Samples 13 Conclusion 18 References 18 Appendices 19

Introduction
Open government data is shared with the public often over the Internet. Public government information, such as government records, can often be promoted for analysis and reuse. Much of the information that the Irish government holds is potentially very useful to a variety of non-government individuals and groups. Currently the Irish government’s data management is controlled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Here certain information is available, but it is limited and difficult to use and access. If the government is to follow the open data movement, there are many benefits to be gained. Many government entities have already begun to publish open government data such as the United States, United Kingdom and the New Zealand governments.
The increased openness of government data is powerful and can drive increased innovation and increase economic growth. Making this information more freely available for third-party reuse has the potential to create public value, develop new applications, increase government transparency and help Irish citizens understand what is happening inside the government. This will enable them to bring issues of concern to the attention to the national public. It is vital that that data is encouraged to be valued as an important resource to our society. However, introducing the release of this government data can be a challenge that includes privacy issues, lack of control and cost.
The following report expands on what’s introduced above. We will clearly detail the strengths and weakness of releasing non-personal data. As well we will evaluate similar initiatives shown by other governments and agencies and give examples of innovative uses for government data-sets.

Strengths The strength of the Irish Government releasing all of its non-personal data to web developers is enormous.
Increases the possibility of good information solutions
The release of data can harness people’s appetite and ability to drive up service standards. In Ireland, much of the public service improvement is driven by the force of government targets set by central government. If data is opened up to the public, much more of the pressure for improvement can come from the local level.

With the release of non-personal data more programmers will create more applications; these applications will be become available to the public. Some of these applications can be extremely useful. They can range from searching crime in their local area to encouraging residents to report graffiti for removal. These information solutions have immense benefits. The uses of these applications will be discussed later in depth.

Increases Innovation and Economic Growth
The released data can also be used in new innovative ways that bring economic benefits to the general public and businesses by releasing unexploited enterprise and entrepreneurship. Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt who were appointed as Information Advisors to the UK Government led a team to develop ‘data.gov.uk’ a single point of access for UK non-personal Governmental public data predict a significant increase in economic growth if more publicly held data are released for reuse. A study by the University of Cambridge found that the growth to the UK economy from freely releasing just a subset of the public sector data that are currently sold could be £160 million in the first year alone. And from a Cabinet Office pilot which involved better access to government data, developers were able to create new tools to better inform the public: * Within a day of bike accident data being published online, it had been added to maps to help cyclists to make decisions about routes they take. * After NHS dental surgery data went live, an iPhone application was created to show people the nearest surgery to any current location.
Enabling access to non personal data will create opportunities for third parties to develop innovations.
Also the development of a data site along will bring along job prospects. The UK based site (data.gov.uk) registered 2,400 developers to test the site and provide feedback.
Greater availability & comprehension of useful data
The release of non-personal data will help build a knowledged based society. The public will have access to a wealth of data. This data can be interpreted for their own benefit. For example they may see the crime levels in their local area. Often the data may difficult for a person to interpret, this opens a window of opportunity for developers to develop new applications that will help the public comprehend the data. For example a developer may create an application that rates schools, the app could allow the user to search by a specific area. Ultimately, a more informed citizen is a more empowered citizen.
Generates possibilities for new "mash-up" of previously uncombined data
Mash-ups can provide new ways of looking at old data, facilitate the visualization of complex data sets, or provide services that were not previously available due to cost constraints for example correlating uninsured motorists against accident reports. “Mash-ups” expand the boundaries of the simple data sets; the combination of data-sets can give us a deeper insight into specific areas of interest.
Removes Boundaries
Releasing data will help remove boundaries. Some counties may already release some non-personal data others don’t release any. If the government release all non-personal these boundaries will be removed. For example, if data on the location of recycling were made available by all councils in this way, it would be easy for a web developer to create a 'mash-up' enabling people to put in their location and identify the facility nearest to them, probably with filtering by type of items accepted, opening hours etc. At the moment, such information tends to be available only on individual council websites, which is of limited use, especially for people living near council boundaries. The release of data would allow for uniformity across regions thus allowing for easier collection, analysis and development of data.

Cost & Workload
While the cost of setting up and testing a website for the release of data may be high. Costs may be reduced in the long run if the website is designed efficiently. A well designed and functional website may reduce or even replace the work that civil servants have to do; this will lead to costs savings for the government.

Although the central hub of data will have to be constantly updated and monitored, the dispersion of data to the public will be far easier. Often individuals from the public would need assistance in finding and sourcing non-personal data. But as mentioned with a well designed and functional website information can be gathered more easily without assistance and thus
Weaknesses
Non personal data being abused
It is all well and good calling the data being released non personal, but if you stop and really think about it how do the government know what is personal from one person to the next. “Non-personal data constitutes data that does not or cannot be used to establish the identity of a living individual. Non-personal data is more often than not aggregate data.” (http://www.crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk/infosharing21-04.htm). In my opinion that statement above is not broad enough in describing non personal data. It is possible that there are people out there who would not like their motoring history being available on the web. I understand that individual motor information probably couldn’t establish the identity of a person but it is still personal.
Fraudsters in recent times have become far more skilled. The way they can utilise even the smallest bit of personal data is frightening. By putting the so called non personal data out there on the web, we are just fuelling the fraudster’s ambitions.
Depending on the combination of non-personal data values, personal data may be inferred. What I mean is that information in one dataset might not be enough to establish personal information but when you combine this with another set of data the information becomes a lot stronger. The top fraudsters would pick up on this straight away. As I was researching this topic I decided to browse through the UK site (data.gov.uk). I went into the frequently asked questions and I saw one of the questions ask “Will personal information be at risk?” The answer said “The data we publish here, and on related websites, will not identify or provide ways to identify individuals, unless that information is already published (like head teachers of schools).” This just gives a fraudster the perfect platform. He/she probably has found a name, what he/she works as, where they work. He could type this info into Google for example and you would be amazed what info you can find there.
CCTV footage would possibly be available to the public on request. If this wasn’t monitored carefully this could lead to an invasion of privacy. It could also lead to individuals being traumatised where muggings stabbings and general public disorder might be shown.
It could also create bad publicity for towns and cities with the disruption attracting gangs of troublemakers to particular areas thus making the problems even more serious. Therefore, before CCTV footage would be released to the public great care should be exercised in selecting and censuring suitable footage.
Timing
We sometimes say that the government keeps issues hidden away from the general public too much but I feel that it is in the governments’ best interest to keep some things to themselves. As we know too well the Irish Government is a limited organisation and are not in the business of performing miracles. By releasing the non personal data to the public we might be opening ourselves up to a large amount of criticism. As this government faces into these harsh and uncertain times it might not be a wise move to add to the already incredibly challenging times ahead.
Ministers and civil servants would leave themselves open to much criticism from opposing parties. We already have enough in house arguing a lot of which we could do without and to fuel these arguments further would probably be an extreme waste of time.
Lack of control
Although more solutions may be available, the value and quality of those applications may be uncertain without some sort of vetting or oversight process. By releasing all of this data they are putting themselves in a position where they have barely any control. The Government release the data in the hope that developers will come up with some innovative solutions but by not having control they cannot guarantee that this will happen, they can’t guarantee the quality of the new development.
One way to combat this is for the government to hire top end developers and only release this non personal data to them and not the public. By doing this the government can guarantee themselves that innovative solutions will be of a high quality. They will also have more of a say in what the outcome is due to the fact that the developers are working for the government. Over seeing the process will be far more efficient and the government will have some control which in the end is probably a safer form of development.
Another point I would like to make is that the whole point of releasing the data is to enhance the skill set of local developers. That would mean that the government would have to come up with some way of only allowing local citizens to develop applications. This, in turn would enhance these developer’s ability to compete in the world market. At present there is no form of restriction that could guarantee this. The UK has already begun this process of releasing non personal data and there is nothing stopping anybody from going in to their website and browsing.
As we know there is are quite a few eastern Europeans living in Ireland. There is nothing stopping them moving back to Warsaw for example and setting up a website and using the non personal data that the government released. This in turn leads on to the issue of poor quality as the location of this developer can hamper research and gathering information . These are some of the threats that the government would face.
Workload &Cost
The non personal data that would be released to the public is not that straight forward. It is not static data. What I mean by this is that this data would have to be updated nearly everyday. The population is growing which means the data volume will grow. The movement in and out of the country is increasing due to the current recession. The government would have to employ people to manage the database. This will add to their costs and at the moment the government are not in the best position to fund such operations.
The actual set up of the Website/Database in the first place would be a huge task. The database would consist of a number of different datasets each dealing with different issues. These would come from different departments within the government. This poses the problem of trying to get all this diverse information into one place. This also impacts on the user as it may be very time consuming to get specific information on various issues. Considering that the data is not static and the fact that these datasets would have to be updated all the time means that an enormous amount of work would be ongoing in order to get the best technical and social working relationships dovetailing. We must keep in mind that all of this development costs money and resources and in our current economic climate might not be feasible.
Having checked the complaints forum for the UK Website (data.gov.uk) it is quite obvious that a lot of people are dissatisfied with the service on offer because having spent a lot of time searching for a particular topic they often come up with a blank result. The response given by the website was the updating of all the datasets was slow and tedious.
Some of the information in the datasets are put there at the whim of an operator who may decide not to include certain information that would be critical to a sector in the community. The subjective nature of the inputting of information would be a serious weakness.
Statistical misinformation
Statistics can sometimes confuse people often leading to wrong decisions. For instance if the government decided in the interest of accountability to release the results of all the second level state examinations for each school in the country, it might sound like a good idea whereby school results could be compared against each other. However having spoken to a member of the National Executive of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) they take a completely different view on this and are totally apposed to the dissemination of such information. These statistics don’t take into account the personal development that goes on in schools or the ongoing social development through sports, debates etc… which are at least as important as exam results and cannot be measured by grade. Also an inner city school in a deprived area might produce very poor results giving the impression that very poor teaching and learning goes on in this school. It is not right to compare this with the results of a private school in a middle or upper class area. Teachers in both schools might be doing a superb job but the implication from the non personal data released might result in a significant misunderstanding of the quality of the teaching in the deprived school
Initiatives by government and non-governmental agencies
Government
The release of government data sets has been launched by some governments under pressure from open data activists leading to an increase in support for the theory of semantics. This ‘free’ non personal appears in the form of posts on government websites or one of its subsidary websites and can be utisilised by developers through the cloud. The U.S. led this movement when the Obama administration came into power with and after the now president had made a promise on his first day in office. This promise outlined that the U.S. government agencies would become more transparent, participatory and collaborative via an "Open Government Directive", with semantic followers groups hailing the announcement. The Transparency Open Government Directive (TOGD) outlined to its directing agencies to take specific actions during the course of a two-year timeline. Obama - “Let me say it as simply as I can, transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency." The website is located at ‘www.data.gov.
The U.S. governments aim was set so that by January 2010, each agency had to post three data sets via data.gov with a senior member of the directive being in charge of the quality of the data. By the following month, each agency was then to set up its own website in order to coincide with the setting up an open government dashboard that would aggregate the data at the main government website (www.whitehouse.com). However the introduction of the website proved to be both costly and slow with many open data debelopers criticising its implementation, and overall it was labeled lackluster in its move to open data to facilitate outside innovation. When the U.S. government's data.gov site was launched, many developers eluded to the fact that it was filled with relatively non-controversial data sets. The site is has plenty of US geological survey data but no department of justice or military data, for example.
After much build up, pressure to follow the U.S. directive and all the planning involved, the UK government launched their Data.gov.uk website, allowing non-personal information to be available to developers in order to help create web applications. All of the data is non-personal and in a format that can be reused by any individual or business to create innovative new software tools, such as applications about property prices, local amenities and services, or access to local hospitals. On its launch 3,000 data sets were been made available, ranging from broad topics such as agricultural stats to subjects like "Suicide and Open Verdict Deaths in the U.K. Regular Armed Forces". In contrast to the its U.S. counterpart website, the site included 22 military data sets at launch. The web portal was spearheaded by inventor web Tim Berners-Lee, allowing anyone who wants to use it free access to government data in one place. Examples of apps already developed include: * Planning Alerts - informs users if someone plans to build nearby their house. * Fill That Hole - informing users of pot holes and other road hazards across the UK. * A video which shows traffic flows and congestion on the motorway network over the past decade. * School Finder - website which enables parents to search for schools by location. * Ofsted report - a "postcode newspaper" which details the different public services in a given postcode area.
If the data released by the both the U.S. and U.K. governments is used appropriately then there could be some useful apps made with it, e.g an app to quickly find an a local dentist when a sudden toothache kicks in. As to give direct access to users, 2400 registered developers were given access to a preview version of the site, so they could offer feedback and start experimenting with the data. The data.gov.uk website also introduced an open license, which allows government-owned data to be freely reused by anybody, so developers can continue to create new products in the future.
One request that users of both the U.S. and U.K. sites still have is for data to be made available in standardized formats. However The U.K. site does include a prominent promotion of the Semantic Web, no doubt influenced by Tim Berners-Lee's focus on semantics as the next step for the future of the web. Tim Berners-Lee - “Making public data available for re-use is about increasing accountability and transparency and letting people create new, innovative ways of using it. Government data should be a public resource. By releasing it, we can unlock new ideas for delivering public services, help communities and society work better, and let talented entrepreneurs and engineers create new businesses and services. ”
Similar initiatives have taken place in both other countries but are a step back in terms of development compared to the U.S. and the U.K. * Australia: the data.australia.gov.au website encourages developers and visitors to the site to create their own mash-ups of government data. Users are enticed to make government information more useful by mashing-up the data to create something new and exciting. * New Zealand: The NZ government received much criticism because that the government had not released many useful datasets, databases and other information resources. They introduced a portal for accessing government databases and is located at data.govt.nz. Site data includes a database from the food safety authority with a breakdown of the major causes of food recalls, and total number of recalls 2001 – 2009, and hospital performance data from the Ministry of Health. * Denmark: Danish National IT and Telecom Agency has created a meta-portal to link, Digitaliser.dk to guide users to available public data. * Slovenia: the speleological association won access to a database of caving information without having to pay for it. The governments Information Commissioner ruled that when the use of public data was not for profit purposes, it should be free of charge.
Non-governmental agencies
Getting information about companies/agencies has always been possible, but always at a hefty price, whether measured in time or money. Here are some examples of the release of data these organizations:

Vancouver, Toronto & Edmonton - As part of its commitment to enhancing public engagement, fostering digital innovation and improving service delivery, the City of Vancouver is toke steps to provide more of its data to the public. There open data website at www.data.vancouver.ca supports the cities council's motion on pen data. By freely sharing its data in accessible formats, all the while respecting privacy and security concerns, Vancouver joined many government agencies mentioned above in moving to harness the involvement of citizens, community-based organizations and private businesses in everything from creative community problem-solving to the development of new service delivery ideas and solutions. An example of this is the freeing of the cities geospatial data – which is data used to build the cities map - VanMap. In Vancouver it is hoped that this catalogue of data will continue to grow as more types of data are added in a greater variety of formats. Similar initiatives have taken place in Edmonton and Toronto at data.edmonton.ca and Toronto.ca/open respectively.
Microsoft - The company has made efforts aimed at helping government organizations meet goals of transparency, citizen participation and agency collaboration. With this in mind Microsoft launched its Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI), releasing a collection of software assets that allow government agencies and developers to publish and interact with their data. As data becomes both increasingly necessary and readily available in response to demands for transparency, collaboration and participation, Microsoft decided to develop to allow for interaction with that data. To help public sector entities, OGDI provides an Internet-standards-based approach to house existing public government data in Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, called Windows Azure. The approach makes the data accessible in a programmatic manner that uses open, industry-standard protocols and APIs.

Jigsaw – Jigsaw, a provider of business information and data services that leverages user-generated content, also introduced an Open Data Initiative. This initiative sets the price at zero for gaining access to and open usage of company information available at www.jigsaw.com. At the date of this announcement the company declared that day "Data Independence Day," allowing visitors to the site access to data and download company data for free for the more than one million companies currently listed in the Jigsaw directory. Having causing a stir in the data industry in 2004 when it launched with the plan to leverage the "wisdom of the crowds," and its user-contributed content to develop a massive online directory of business contacts, Jigsaw is continuing on its path of disrupting traditional approaches to data delivery by presenting an innovative alternative: Jigsaw's Open Data Initiative introduces an open-source approach to the gathering and usage of company information.

The Dublin Core® Metadata Initiative – The DCMI, is an open organization engaged in the development of interoperable metadata standards supporting a broad range of purposes and business models. The organisations activities include work on architecture and modeling, discussions and collaborative work in DCMI communities and task Groups, annual conferences and workshops, standards liaison, and educational efforts to promote widespread acceptance of metadata standards and practices.

Innovated uses for Government data Samples

Recently there has been a growing consensus that the Irish government should increase its openness and transparency by publishing all its raw data in bulk online in the hope of publishing the data will empower some third party software developers to produce innovative new technologies that will engage the public and illuminate government's inner workings. A number of governments in recent times have relished that this has to happen as in a world where access to knowledge has become a key driver of social, cultural and economic innovation, thus allowing Governments to focus on how it might provide better access to the publicly funded information resources. But only a few countries have been able to launch their own sites with access to machine-readable data for developers to create applications, although this is likely to change in the near future. Often data collected by government agencies and made available to public in its raw form will be of little value to business and individuals as this data is far too complex to used as it has not been assembled that can be used. If the government just simply provided freely accessible raw data, it will do little to attract businesses and individuals to use this data.

The benefits and demand will come when the data it collated, analyzed, organized and effectively presented in an easy to access format that provides users with information of value that matches their specific needs. These specifically-designed, value added services will cost and will need to be paid for by those they are specifically designed for. Governments became more aware that developers have abilities and skills to make amazing things of the public data that could be more useful than the plain raw data. With the opening of this data, third parties have been in invited to take advantage of this available data by placing this data in a format that can be used by any individual or business by creating new innovative software tools. With these tools, governments are looking for anyone who can use these data sets to participate in and improve government by conducting research and analysis or creating applications, thereby gaining a better understanding of the services provided by local councils therefore improving the lives of citizens and the way in which government serves them. They understand that delivering great information requires having great tools for this to happen and by opening up all its datasets to developers that this is now a possibly. They could encouraged developers to get on board with their talent and idea's by making this data available to stimulate innovation in the information technology and media industries by using the accessible data sets.
An example of an innovative use for the data sets could come in the form of an application that tells the user the resources for a certain city i.e. Cork or Dublin. This application could use data gathered from these local councils. Dublin city could be one of the first to take advantage of this data becoming available. As part of their initiative they could improve the accessibility, transparency, and accountability of the City council, by supplying access to a repository of government-produced, machine-readable data sets which are available in a variety of machine-readable formats and are refreshed when new data becomes available. One such application could be an iPhone application and web application that bundles a variety of Dublin City resources for tourists and locals. A number of data sets could be used to create this application including restaurant inspection results, weekly traffic updates, directory for nature centers, wifi hotspot plus many more. Currency there are a lack of applications existing offering people the chance to see all aspects of what Dublin has to offer on one application. The idea of application is when the user requests for the app to either find your current location via GPS or your postcode; it returns location-specific information about nearby parks, museums, stores, and other attractions in the Dublin area. This feature alone would prove very valuable, but what would make this app exemplary is if the app contained little micro-applications, whose information you can string together in very useful combinations. It could also use an events section, which marries time-sensitive info into letting you know what’s happening somewhere and what time it's on while you’re actually there allowing data gathered from the local council. The developers of this application could come up a easy to use, innovation application that is as useful for Dubliners as well as first time visitors to the city by combining data sets that were not previously available by bundling lots of tourist-friendly services into one tidy package. An application like this could prove very useful for the tourism in Ireland and a application could be show what a good incentive it would be for the government to open their data to the public.
Another innovative idea that could be used for an application is one where it compares and contrasts the towns in Ireland. It could provide graphical indicators which reveal different aspects of each town from its socio-economic standing to its education levels and its perceived safety levels. A number of data sets could used to create this application if open such as crime incidents data, census of population and housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Area and Leaving cert results statistics. The developers of this application could use the open source data to make a app relevant for every Irish person with a interest in their local area. The application would offers a mash up of different types of crime and census data that allows you to compare and contrast towns by a range of economic, education, safety and socio-economic indicators. It gives the ability to compare towns visually combined with the selective choice of statistics. By having use of different indicators, this would provide an easy way to compare different aspects of each town. Red values would be interpreted as negative results and green values as positive especially in a field dominated by many entries using similar datasets. There are several areas where the app could compare and contract town/village population, education levels, socio-economic rankings safely ranking and crime levels. This would be a easy to use application that makes full use of the data sets while at the same time providing a simple interface and visual statistics for the user or anyone curious to know information about a certain town.

The creation of a mobile and web application that helps the user find out where to recycle and properly dispose of just about everything is another example of a innovative use of government data sets. If data of the location of recycling facilities were made available by all councils, this way it would be easy for a developer to create a mash up enabling people to put in their postcode and the facility nearest to them The user can select the material they need to recycle or dispose of, and the application will show them the relevant businesses and services closest to you to do this. This application would use data collected from the Irish environment department. The application could contribute to providing users with information to make lifestyle choices that are better for the environment in Ireland thus making their towns and cities a clean place. The location-based app would use data feed to guide residents towards drop-off points for items like bulbs, gas tanks, printer cartridges, furniture plus more. This would be an appropriate application for Ireland as recently there are growing concerns about the levels of litter in our towns and cities also a failure to separate out trash, composting, and recycling could lead to large fines, which is a huge incentive for people to start using a application such as this. This application tool could proved extremely popular and an important way for the Irish environment department to get their message of recycling, reuse and proper disposal out to the general public. The release of a recycling application also proves the benefits for Governments and third parties for coming together in the use of data sets as they both provide more effective processes for government service delivery to individuals and businesses in an innovative way.
An example of data set used in a innovative way is in the form of the application showing the best facilities in the country based on reports carried out by the government over the years. These reports might include areas such as schools, hospitals and Nursing homes. This application would work by using a database to call for information which includes extractions from government inspection reports as well as information supplied by nursing homes, schools and hospitals offering more detail than any other directory of any of these institutions which are all received from the Irish based public information sector. It provides a powerful search engine to narrow the user's search, with results ranked by its unique quality index. This quality index gives a fair reflection of the best types of facilities based on statistics and recommendations which would be unlike most other websites, which often push up the ranking just because they pay to do so. This can often be a tough decision for a person to find out what's the best nursing home or school to look out for as they must consider whether it is the correct decision, what is the best for them and how it compares to other's in quality which is what this web application would do. The web application could also provides tools to help the user request more information about a facility that they have a interest in if they feel that there is not enough information on that website. When they do this, they would get notify by email when the new inspection reports are published on that facility they had requested information on. Although there are other website available with information on nursing homes, hospitals and schools this website would use the most accurate data as it would be coming from the Irish government data sets. With recent scandals involving abuse in nursing homes and schools, people are now more concerned about where their friends or relatives go in regard to these. This website will ease these worries with a number of features that it contains, one being the complaint procedure area where the user can search the website to see if there has been any complaints made against a particular facility. With their quality index, they could analyzed every available inspection report for the previous years, along with information from providers then creating a scoring system that rewards high marks. With the availability and use of these reports, people can then judge for themselves the best.
An innovative use for data sets could be the creation of a web application that provides a single site for reporting potholes and other road hazards across the whole of Ireland. The developer could use data sets regarding the state of the roads before building up information on them through the help of the public on the website. That could prove to be a very helpful tool for members of the public to have especially considering the recent bad weather which cause considerable damage to the roads. This lead to a number of car broke downs and complaints from the public over the state of the roads. But by having an application that reports the location of a pothole, people can become more prepared for what they encounter on the roads. Local councils have a duty to ensure roads are maintained, but if they don’t know about a pothole, they can’t fill it in. So if the user wants to get it repaired, they can report it on the website thus allowing the local council to become aware of this problem in order to fix it. The user could use a online form to report a hazard on an interactive map. The web application will then identify the local authority which has responsibility for the road’s maintenance, and will send information about the hazard to that authority, which has a duty to repair any hazards or defects when they occur. The application will also keep track of the progress in getting the hazard fixed. An innovative application such as this would have both benefits for the Government and the Irish public and could prove to be a valuable assets in terms of road safely in Ireland and present a further reason for the Irish government to open up its data to the public.

Conclusion
The release of non-personal data is highly recommended. Departments hold on behalf of citizens mountains of non-personal data. It's time to develop clear policies of how to release and encourage the use of this data in developing new services and applications - and to encourage the creation of new businesses during a time when innovation in technology can help create one of the many required growth paths out of recession. It is important that ‘The government should ensure that public information data sets are easy to find and use’ (http://mulqueeny.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/opening-up-the-non-personal-data-in-the-home-office/). A central hub of easily accessible transparent data can have huge benefits. While there are some constraining factors mentioned above, the strengths certainly outweigh the weakness. The release of data can harbor innovation, improve services, foster economic growth and remove boundaries.
References

http://www.hmg.gov.uk/frontlinefirst/action1/transparency.aspx#note26 http://mulqueeny.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/opening-up-the-non-personal-data-in-the-home-office/ http://razor.occams.info/pubdocs/opendataciviccapital.html http://www.epsiplus.net/psi_library/links http://datasf.org/showcase/ http://www.ecofinderapp.com/ http://www.data.gov/statedatasites http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/01/21/uk-government-sets-its-data-free-for-the-peoples-apps/ http://www.microsoft .com http://www.data.vancouver.ca http://www.readwriteweb.com http://www.opendatainitiative.com Appendices
Dear Group,
Thank you for your email.
You may like to consider the following risk areas that would have to be addressed:
1 Ensuring that survey data is aggregated so that individuals cannot be identified. This means setting and applying clear rules for aggregating small datasets, thereby ensuring anonymity.
2 Not releasing data to which a restriction applies. I suggest you look at Paragraph 37 of our draft New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL) where you will find our draft list of restrictions. - http://blog.e.govt.nz/index.php/nzgoal/policy-principles/. Information is released liberally when restrictions do not apply.
3 Government agencies being asked to reformat datasets to suit the requirements of the user. Our proposed response to this is that agencies consider releasing in formats which take into account the wishes of those who wish to re-use the information ( see Paragraph 51). We would also advise users that agencies are releasing information/data that has been collected for a particular purpose by government ( to support its functions). The agency could advise the user that any additional work the user requires would only be done on a cost recovery basis.
4 Ensuring that copyright ownership is clearly known so that the copyright owner can set the licensing arrangements for re-use of the data.
I hope that this information assists you
Regards

Keitha Booth
Senior Advisor, ICT
State Services Commission
DDI: +64 4 495 6731
Mob: 027 445 4616
Fax: +64 4 495 6669 keitha.booth@ssc.govt.nz www.ssc.govt.nz | newzealand.govt.nz
New Zealand's State Services Commission: Leading the state sector to world class performance…...

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