FEATURE18 March 2020

Jeni Tennison in seven

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In the latest of our In Seven series, we speak to Jeni Tennison, chief executive of the Open Data Institute. Tennison sits on multiple boards including the UK’s Open Standards Board and was the technical architect and lead developer for legislation.gov.uk. She talks about open data, regulation and data misconceptions.

Jeni Tennison ODI_crop

1: What is the biggest challenge in making data open?

There are cultural challenges and then there are practical and technical challenges. We’re seeing a resurgence of the notion in government that the best way of getting value out of intangible assets like data is by selling them. But we get more value out of it when we’re able to combine it – when it’s able to get to those who need it to make decisions.

2: The misuse of data for political purposes has created a negative conversation about data. How can open data be used to benefit democracy?

Democracy Club brings together data about where polling stations are, the candidates standing and their voting record. This is vital democratic information that we need to turn up to the right place and make a good judgement. Data is collected and made openly available. The crying shame is that it is not for profit and a lot of the ...