Four critiques of open data initiatives

Blog by Rob Kitchin: “The arguments concerning the benefits of open data are now reasonably well established and include contentions that open data lead to increased transparency and accountability with respect to public bodies and services; increases the efficiency and productivity of agencies and enhances their governance; promotes public participation in decision making and social innovation; and fosters economic innovation and job and wealth creation (Pollock 2006; Huijboom and Van der Broek 2011; Janssen 2012; Yiu 2012).
What is less well examined are the potential problems affecting, and negative consequences of, open data initiatives.  Consequently, as a provocation for Wednesday’s (Nov 13th, 4-6pm) Programmable City open data event I thought it might be useful to outline four critiques of open data, each of which deserves and demands critical attention: open data lacks a sustainable financial model; promotes a politics of the benign and empowers the empowered; lacks utility and usability; and facilitates the neoliberalisation and marketisation of public services.  These critiques do not suggest abandoning the move towards opening data, but contend that open data initiatives need to be much more mindful of what data are being made open, how data are made available, how they are being used, and how they are being funded.”