We hear a lot about the great value of FOI’s. And there have been some great instances it has brought a lot of telling detail to light. But most of the time you really need to know exactly what you are looking for, often right down to the time of day the subject line, etc.
More often however just heavy negotiation required to unlock the complex mechanism endows the discovered information with a heightened meaning it may not deserve in the wider run of things.
And more broadly the way even publicly available information is stacked means that those bigger data sets from which we might derive real public knowledge and value means the wider benefits to both government and citizen remain a no go area.
Over at the recently revived Slugger Consults blog, I’ve picked up on Henry Farrell’s view that Open Data needs political advocates who see some value in opening up a wider discourse without falling foul of a lobby system that would prefer to keep everything locked down…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty