Government Pledges To Make FoI Data Machine Readable

The UK coalition government has vowed to make changes to Freedom of Information data, in order to make it available to the public in a machine readable format.

According to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, the amendments in the Act will result in the information obtained under the Act being used socially and for other commercial purposes.

The government is planning to make FoI data available in CSV (comma separated value) files and Excel files instead of PDF files.

Recently, several UK councils have been criticised for releasing Freedom of Information data in an unreadable format, so that it is not published by the media or transparency websites.

The move was announced during the Conservative party conference, the Telegraph reports.

Maude said that “Thousands of commercial and social entrepreneurs have been frustrated by their inability to obtain and reuse datasets."

“I'm sorry to say that some councils spend time and money deliberately making data unusable to anyone else,” he said.