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Opacity of government data points to importance of transparency

Rachel Wheeler Archive
The abundance of data being generated by tech-savvy consumers has led a number of organizations to believe that because it exists, it inherently has value. A recent incident, in which the British government released mass amounts of raw public data, served as a reminder that this is not the case.

"It is simply not good enough to dump large quantities of raw data into the public domain," said Right Honorable Margaret Hodge, a Member of Parliament and chair of the Committee of Public Accounts. "It must be accessible, relevant and easy for us all to understand. Otherwise the public cannot use it … which is the key objective of the transparency agenda."

The government had released raw data sets to provide residents with greater transparency, but found the efforts were largely ineffective because people couldn't interpret it and understand it in a meaningful way.

Business and marketing teams might experience similar results when they go to use gathered data to steer campaigns and advise decisions. The information that's gathered must be verified for data quality and stored in a way that users can easily tap into, in order to glean actionable insight that will help reach desired goals.