Open Data Must Be Seen as Non-Personal. | Ian Watt, CodetheCity @ State of Open Con 2023

Published on
08/02/2023 02:55 PM
Link to video on Youtube

The State of Open Con 2023 has just kicked off in London and the EM360 team was there to interview business leaders and industry experts about everything open source. 

Yesterday, we spoke to Ian Watt, co-founder and trustee of Code the City, about the latest trends and biggest challenges for the open-source industry and the future of open-source software within the enterprise landscape. 

Open data is non-personal

When asked about the introduction of new legislation to protect the privacy and security of people’s data, Mr Watt explained that organisations must understand that open data is non-personal, and so is not affected by legislation in the same way as personal data. 

“I think we've got to see the two things as different. We've got to look at open data as being non-personal.”

”So it's data that is not identifiable, isn't living people, isn't protected, but it's actually data that can be used openly under a licence, whereas the other side of that coin is around personal data. And we need to be very careful about distinguishing these two things. 

When it comes to protecting data, Mr Watt explains that organisations must secure open data as much as they protect personal data, despite their differences. 

“Our responsibility for data tends to be very much in the open end of it. So other than personal data about employees or about our customers or something, which we treat very securely, the data we are working with is ten-speed data that we are putting out in the open. 

“Again, it comes back to that difference between the two ends of that data spectrum,” Mr Watt says.

Open data is an enabler of innovation

When asked about the importance of open data, Mr Watt explained that it allows both individuals and organisations to interact with data more effectively, harbouring innovation. 

“We see open data as an enabler for innovation, for getting people to actually be able to interact with data around them and to actually as a stimulus for building new products and services.