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Tim Berners-Lee Unveils UK Government Data Project 25

Sri.Theo writes "For a long time, the UK hasn't had the default access to government information that the US has, but a campaign by Tim Berners-Lee finally yielded results with access to masses of local information. The hope is that this will make access to government services easier and more useful for everyone. Crucially, it's not just for developers; everyone can submit and comment on ideas for use of the data."
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Tim Berners-Lee Unveils UK Government Data Project

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  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @01:47PM (#30848308)

    ...the UK hasn't had the default access to government information that the US has...

    Oh please! Just because our government makes more information available doesn't mean any of it is useful in determining what our government is doing. Anything interesting is blacked out and requires a dozen FOIA requests to get, or is locked away in perpetuity behind the justification of "National security". Getting timely, factual, and relevant information out of our government is like trying to get product out of those damnable plastic clamshells -- You could wind up seriously injuring yourself trying to get to it.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @01:52PM (#30848378) Homepage

    Works of the US government are in the public domain.

    I also suspect that you do not realize how much data government agencies in the US (both Federal and state) routinely publish. Most of it is stuff you would consider boring, but others find it very useful.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @02:21PM (#30848768)

    Works of the US government are in the public domain.

    Quite a few aren't.

    USPS materials, artwork, design and all postage stamps as of January 1, 1978 or after are subject to copyright laws. Works produced by the Department of Commerce are exempt under the Standard Reference Data Act. It also doesn't apply to state or municipal governments, or "organized territories" under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Government (Such as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, etc.) Only Florida and Minnesota routinely place their materials in the public domain. Many logos and emblems of federal government agencies are also protected. Executive Order 13526 (Signed by Obama in 2009) also establishes classifications of federal government work; National security interests pre-empt the release of information to the public in many cases.

    Most works produced by the miliary are also protected, as are works by NASA (under Federal Acquisition Regulations). NASA, for example, while routinely releasing data for public use, remains copyrighted and they often release the work on a delay to allow researchers involved in their respective projects to publish their research ahead of publication of the raw data by NASA. Government contractors are also not required to release their work into the public domain. A contractor may assert claim to copyright in scientific and technical articles based on or containing data first produced in the performance of a contract and published in academic, technical or professional journals, symposia proceedings, or the like.

    Note: Most of this information I lifted from various wikipedia pages and are direct quotes or paraphrasing of the same.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer