Various commentators over the past year have made the observation that “Data is the new oil“. If that’s the case, journalists should be following the money. But they’re not.
Instead it’s falling to the likes of Tony Hirst (an Open University academic), Dan Herbert (an Oxford Brookes academic) and Chris Taggart (a developer who used to be a magazine publisher) to fill the scrutiny gap. Recently all three have shone a light into the move towards transparency and open data which anyone with an interest in information would be advised to read.
Hirst wrote a particularly detailed post breaking down the results of a consultation about higher education data.
Herbert wrote about the publication of the first Whole of Government Accounts for the UK.
And Taggart made one of the best presentations I’ve seen on the relationship between information and democracy.
What all three highlight is how control of information still represents the exercise of power, and how shifts in that control as a result of the transparency/open data/linked data agenda are open to abuse, gaming, or spin. Continue reading