Open data

Open data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share alike.

In 2007 the Open Government Working Group defined the main features that open data must possess:

1. Data Must Be Complete
2. Data Must Be Primary
3. Data Must Be Timely
4. Data Must Be Accessible
5. Data Must Be Machine processable
6. Access Must Be Non-Discriminatory
7. Data Formats Must Be Non-Proprietary
8. Data Must Be License-free

In 2010 the Open Data Manual set up by the Open Knowledge Foundation broadened the definition, maintaining that the main features are:

1. Availability and Access
2. Possibility of Reuse and Redistribution
3. Universal Participation

The key point is the following: in the information society the data digitalization process has frequently been carried out without assessing the risk that enormous, precious data sets may not be mutually interoperable. The goal is thus to allow for free use and circulation of this data without there being any legal, social or technical obstacles in the way.

Even if the homeland of Open Data is without a shadow of doubt the United States, in Europe too, fascinating movements are coming into being which are designed to “liberate” public data. In Italy the portal is still in its infancy, but we hope that it will soon acquire the same importance as other European projects.

Tech and Law Center’s aim is to study this phenomenon not only from a technical but also from a legal standpoint. Though firm believers in the importance of Open Data, the risks linked to privacy or the unlawful use of such data must be assessed beforehand and not after the “liberation” process has concluded.

Many initiatives have been taken and will be taken at a National level to foster growth in Open Data and Tech and Law intends to contribute to the development of this movement, promoting the utility of Open Data in scientific circles.