Open Data Literature Review

Review by Emmie Tran and Ginny Scholtes: “Open data describes large datasets that governments at all levels release online and free of charge for analysis by anyone for any purpose. Entrepreneurs may use open data to create new products and services, and citizens may use it to gain insight into the government. A plethora of time saving and other useful applications have emerged from open data feeds, including more accurate traffic information, real-time arrival of public transportation, and information about crimes in neighborhoods. But data held by the government is implicitly or explicitly about individuals. While open government is often presented as an unqualified good, sometimes open data can identify individuals or groups, leading to invasions of privacy and disparate impact on vulnerable populations.

This review provides background to parties interested in open data, specifically for those attending the 19th Annual BCLT/BTLJ Symposium on open data. Part I defines open data, focusing on the origins of the open data movement and the types of data subject to government retention and public access. Part II discusses how open data can benefit society, and Part III delves into the many challenges and dangers of open data. Part IV addresses these challenges, looking at how the United States and other countries have implemented open data regimes, and considering some of the proposed measures to mitigate the dangers of open data….(More)”