Making Open Data Real consultation results published.

The results of the last year’s Making Open Data Real consultation have been published. Open Data Manchester submitted a response as did 246 others.

These responses will be used to define the governments approach to Open Data and will hopefully bring about a meaningful push from both central and local government.

The following Greater Manchester based organisations responded:

  • North West e Government Group
  • Open Data Manchester
  • Rochdale Council
  • Swirrl IT Ltd
  • Trafford Council
  • Transport for Greater Manchester
  • So far play to the above for the above for engaging.

    Summaries of the consultation can be read here:

    Full responses can be downloaded here:

    SOPA and PIPA

    What and why?

    The SOPA and PIPA legislation currently going through the American congress has impact and ramifications far beyond the shores of the US and piracy, and is a threat to the Free and Open internet that we have today. It iS a blunt, badly constructed piece of legislation that seeks to prop up an industry based on old business models by clamping down on new and innovative ways of producing and disseminating content. As with most bad pieces of legislation it will be open to creep and opportunism, where arbitrary take down and closure of sites pointing to or serving content would prevail. It offers a world where the winners will be the established players with large legal teams and vested interests and the losers will be everyone else. It is an outcome which we, as part of the Open movement, are fighting against.

    What could it do?

    Would it effect Open Data? We don’t know, as open data is made available by data owners under open licensing. It might constrain the publishing of data that has been scraped, but the legal arguments as to whether data is protected by copyright and IP law are complex.

    It could constrain search, if you fall foul of its broad and ill-defined terms. You may have a site but it might as well not exist if it doesn’t show up in search results.

    It can effect free expression – just imagine the internet awash with copyright bots who can automatically close down or de link sites with out any recourse to the law. You can get a flavour of this on on some sites that have content sniffing technology.

    Who decides what is or isn’t copyrighted or IP protected material? In the SOPA world you will be found guilty and then have to fight to prove your innocence. How will this effect the ability to expose wrongdoing if the evidence is subject to SOPA and PIPA?

    Many people have written about why these laws are a bad thing and some links are below. From the UK we can only watch and hope.

    [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/31100268 w=640&h=480]

    Technical overview

    Why SOPA is bad for business

    Guardian article on effect

    Added 19/1/12
    Excellent article on Al-Jazeera by Jonathan Zitrain et al.

    Update 19/1/12

    Last night several members of congress, who originally supported the SOPA/PIPA bill withdrew their support due to the massive international campaign that saw many thousands of websites, including Open Data Manchester’s, go dark and people ‘block the switchboards’ of the American congress. It was a victory in the battle to protect our free and open internet but there is too much money at stake and we are sure we will see a revised, more subtle form of SOPA/PIPA in the not too distant future.

    Open Data Manchester – November Meeting

    November’s Open Data Manchester.

    Paul Gallagher – Head of Online for Manchester Evening News gave a presentation regarding the role of the MEN during the Manchester Riots. He described how the Manchester Evening News had used Social Media during the riots and how his team had started to collect data regarding the riots and the subsequent court cases to give insight into some of the possible causes of the riots.

    Most interesting was the resources that the MEN had put into reporting on the court cases following the riots and by having court reporters sitting in on each of the trials they created a schema and dataset show the areas that people lived in, mitigating circumstances, age, type of offence, sentence etc. This is data that can only be created if you attend the trail. This allowed them to map offences against depravation indices and changes in the way that sentencing was delivered over the course of the trials.

    The discussion also touched on news organisations becoming huge archives of sentencing data and how this can effect people’s lives even after their convictions have been struck off. MEN does have a policy where certain details are redacted from the historical archive but this is done on a case by case basis.

    There was also an update as to the preparations for the International Open Data Hackday and the responses to the Governments Open Data and Public Data Corporation consultations.