Open data in France: what is the use of public data ?
France is one of the precursors of open data in Europe. In the country, open data is mostly practiced by the public sector. For its part, the private sector is still lagging behind. Most of the time, companies make their datasets available because of obligations.
To remove the obstacles, it is necessary to determine the interest of open data.
Qu’is that’an open data site ?
L’open data refers to the publication of digital data under open license. In concrete terms, it is possible to freely access these data. In addition, their reuse and their sharing are allowed and do not imply any technical, financial or legal condition.
Open data is also known as ” open data “. According to the Sunlight Foundation, this term refers to any raw data that is :
- Complete ;
- Timely ;
- Non-owner ;
- Permanent ;
- Royalty free;
A site is said to be open data when it allows free access to data meeting these criteria. Such is the case of the open data portal data.gouv.fr driven by the mission Etalab.
With the rapid evolution of the Web and its countless applications, data is multiplying exponentially. Their continuous production favors the democratization of the open data principle. At the same time, this situation tends to make the Web pass from a tool of information and knowledge to a simple support of data.
For to transform them into information, the intervention of intermediaries is necessary. It is therefore necessary to think about a pedagogy of data on various levels, including production, dissemination, processing, valuation and ethics.
L’open data in France, as everywhere else, also raises the problem of compatibility with the respect of personal data. For example, municipalities with more than 3,500 inhabitants and at least 50 employees are required to make certain documents and data in their possession freely available online. It is a provision of the article L.312-1-1 of the CRPA (Code of relations between the public and the State)’administration).
However, if the files contain personal data relating to the private life of the individuals concerned, their diffusion is not possible.
In this context, the CNIL, in association with the CADA, has unveiled a practical guide concerning the publication of public data online and their reuse. These authorities list the ways in which open data can be used to reconcile the obligations of administrations with respect for private life.
Overall, this document was designed to highlight the legal framework of open data and its compliance with the RGPD.
Who uses’open data ?
The data produced by local authorities and other public actors concern various fields. It can be data geographical, of statistics, of regulatory texts, of barometers or thedirectories.
L’open data in France can be used by different types of actors: citizens, companies, researchers, associations… It aims to facilitate the reuse of open data for :
- To improve the services provided to citizens or to create new ones;
- Generate new knowledge;
- feed the public debate, etc.
Its use in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic illustrates very well the potential of open data’Thanks to the opening of public data. As emphasized by the government, the health crisis has demonstrated that open data can help significantly improve public policies and promote their transparency.
As an illustration, the dissemination of data from hospitals has been exploited by many companies for anticipate patient admissions. Thanks to this predictive data, the teams in charge of taking care of contaminated patients can better organize themselves. Since the coronavirus has been raging in France, no less than 200 applications and services have been developed by companies and local authorities, but also by individuals.
What is the’interest of the’open data for organizations ?
The example cited above proves that open data makes it possible todriving beneficial change. For organizations (cities, communities or ministries), this type of evolution has repercussions on their very structure, but also on their agents. More precisely, when an organization opens its data, it increases the transparency of public action.
In addition, the quality of data made public is improved. Indeed, before opening the data in its possession, an organization will necessarily apply to improve them. It will see its legitimacy strengthened, especially with the reuse of the information it manages for various purposes.
On the other hand, by adopting a open data strategy, an organization will have to multiplying collaborations with external actors. Finally, opening access to its data will allow it to contribute to the’interoperability of public services as other administrations will be able to reuse them more easily.
Thanks to the’open data in France, the offer in terms of public services will thus be improved. For example, the data produced and held by cities can be used to design mobile applications to improve transportation.
How the’open data allows to produce new services ?
L’open data makes it possible creation of new services insofar as it allows you to better understand the behavior of citizens. As an illustration, thanks to road traffic data, it is possible to determine the travel habits of the inhabitants. Organizations, but also any project owner, can exploit this information to develop applications for mobility.
To be reused and to allow the implementation of new services, the data made available must however respect several conditions. In particular, it must be complete and contextualized. They must also be open in a standard format (CSV, JSON, Shapefile, etc.).).
Indeed, a potential reuser may be discouraged if he finds that exploiting a dataset is likely to be complicated.
In addition, it is important to offer some leeway. To do this, it is advisable to opt for a permissive reuse license like the one from Etalab. The latter authorizes, among other things, the exploitation of open data for commercial purposes.
Re-users have the opportunity to create new business models.