Why should **government** data be open?
1. **Transparency**. In a well-functioning, democratic society citizens need to know what their government is doing. To do that, they must be able *freely* to access government data and information *and* to share that information with other citizens. **Transparency isn’t just about access, it is also about sharing and reuse** — often, to understand material it needs to be analyzed and visualized and this requires that the material be *open* so that it can be freely used *and* reused.
2. **Releasing social and commercial value**. In a digital age, data is a key resource for social and commercial activities. Everything from finding your local post office to building a search engine requires access to data, much of which is created or held by government. By opening up data, government can help drive the **creation of innovative business and services that deliver social and commercial value**.
3. **Participatory Governance**. Much of the time citizens are only able to engage with their own governance sporadically — maybe just at an election every 4 or 5 years. By opening up data, citizens are enabled to be much more directly informed and involved in decision-making. This is more than transparency: it’s about **making a full “read/write” society**, not just about knowing what is happening in the process of governance but being able to contribute to it.