UK and US best at government transparency online

Since the start of our 'Digital Freedoms' project back in January this blog has done a lot of criticising the US and UK governments over their attacks on freedom on the internet, something that has only gathered pace since Edward Snowden provided so much ammunition to the media so it is refreshing to have a post going the other way.

While the UK and US may be pretty good at undermining digitial freedoms in some areas this should not blind us to the fact that in many ways both countries are leaders in promoting the idea of freedoms on the internet. For example they have been among the countries that have often argued against government control over the internet. They are also top when it comes to open data. The Open Knowledge Foundation has ranked countries based upon online availability of information in ten areas: government spending, election results, transport timetables, pollution levels, government budget, company register, national statistics, legislation, postcodes and availability of a high level copy of a national map. Across these the UK comes out top followed by the United States, and then the nordics. So despite the UK and US lack of transparency when it comes to what they are doing in secret they are the best in the world when it comes to putting other government data online. There are however still areas for improvement “The UK Electoral Commission doesn't allow open reuse of election data for example, whilst in the US there is no federal dataset that contains all corporate registrations.”

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