Is Open Data the Death of FOIA?

November 21, 2016 by Beth Simone Noveck

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To understand how significant the open data movement is for FOIA, this Essay discusses the impact of open data on the institutions and functions of government and the ways open data contrasts markedly with FOIA. Open data emphasizes the proactive publication of whole classes of information. Open data includes data about the workings of government but also data collected by the government about the economy and society posted online in a centralized repository for use by the wider public, including academic users seeking information as the basis for original research and commercial users looking to create new products and services. For example, Pixar used open data from the United States Geological Survey to create more realistic detail in scenes from its movie The Good Dinosaur.