February, 2010

All Your Data Are Belong to Us: Liberating Government Data

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When government refuses to make itself transparent and open and fails to make public information meaningfully available, hackers will liberate the data. It has happened many times over, and it will doubtlessly happen again. Each time government data is freed, citizens gain useful access to valuable information that rightly belongs to them. But perhaps more importantly, government is forced to deal with the new reality of a networked world in which the people demand free online access to public information.

Data is liberated by hacking government. Because of how the popular press has used it, the word hack is often misunderstood to mean only illicit access to computer networks. In fact, to techies that is only one possible meaning. According to Wikipedia, the term usually means “a clever or quick fix to a computer program problem” or “a modification of a program or device to give the user access to features that were otherwise unavailable to them.”

This book, published by O'Reilly Media, is a collection of essays and case studies, in which contributors inside and outside of government share their ideas on how information technology can make government more transparent and collaborative.