Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

EU Commission’s Proposal on Public Sector Data Is Good, But Could Be Better

Center for Data Innovation: “The European Commission has published a package of measures entitled “Towards a common European data space,” which aims to promote the sharing and re-use of data in the European Union. The only legislative component of the package is a proposal to revise the Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive, which requires member states to allow individuals and organizations to re-use publicly-held data. The proposed changes are all positive in that they would boost the reuse of public sector data, but it would be better if member states agreed to a general obligation to make the data available by default. The PSI Directive, which was adopted in 2003 and last amended in 2013, requires member states to ensure publicly-held data can be reused for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, such as by permitting re-use in content licenses and by using open standards. However, the Directive is neither an open data law nor a freedom of information law, because public bodies do not have to publish anything or let citizens access anything (unless national law says otherwise), and can screen each request to reuse the data they do make available. As the Center for Data Innovation pointed out in a recent report, only a couple of EU member states perform particularly well in open data, and some even lack functioning freedom of information laws. The Commission’s proposed amendments would not establish a general obligation to release data either, but they would require member states to ensure that “high value datasets,” of which the Commission will publish a list, are available for free, are machine-readable, and are accessible via application programming interfaces (APIs), which allow third parties to more easily integrate data into their own applications and tools.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.