Ontario’s Open Data Policy: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and the (Missed?) Opportunity

Nov 09, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's a background of discussion currently taking place in corporate and government circles on data polcies, governing data use, data access, and data licensing. I'm seeing this discussion in e-learning circles, on online government and media sites (like this one), and even more and more in my day-to-day activities in my day job. This particular post reviews Ontario's new Open Data portal from the perspective of data policy, drawing out its relation to the UK’s Open Government License, the British Columbia license and the proposed Canadian Open Government License. It has its criticisms: in particular David Eaves is concerned that there's no guarantee the data are clear of any possible third party copyright, moral right, other intellectual property right or other claim. "Basically this line kills the possibility that any business, non-profit or charity will ever use this data in any real sense," he says. He's also concerned about a clause saying "your use of the Datasets causes no harm to others." What counts as 'harm' could be interpreted very broadly, he notes.

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