Who owns the information, owns the world

вестник 05.06.2014

At the present time the governments of different countries are engaged in intensive activities on the introduction of the concept of open data, which are destined to ensure free access to the information, gathered by the state bodies and being not confidential. As of today more than 5000 open data sets are published. Among disclosed information are the data from the sphere of education, housing and communal sector, health care service, state purchases, as well as statistical data.

The importance of open data for entrepreneurship and development has become one of the subjects being active discussed during The XVIII St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF – 2014). As a reminder, in May 2012 the President of the RF set a task to ensure the access to open data of all state bodies in Internet. As the result of conducted work above 1000 data sets of government authorities and organs of local self-government were opened by July 2013, and by now their amount has exceed 5000. Following structures have turned out to be the most open: the Federal State Statistics Service, the Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation, the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, the Federal Customs Service, as well as the Ministry of Education and Science of the RF.

In spite of marked progress in accessing to the data, Russia takes only the 30th place among 70 investigated countries of the world and the 7th place among G8 group of countries on the accessibility level of governmental information in the form of open data, as is evidenced by the rating prepared by British «Open Knowledge Foundation» (United Kingdom). First places in the rating belong to the USA and Great Britain, having become the pioneers in the sphere of open data in their time. From 1000 points possible within the rating they have scored 940 and 870 respectively - against 425 points by Russia. However, it is also worth noting that at the initial stage of realization of the initiative the indicators on disclosure of information of the state bodies in Russia exceeded the indicators of the USA more than 17 times: 800 data sets against 47.

Within the rating of open data the experts have estimated the accessibility of most important social information: election returns, government budget, government spending (state purchases), registration data of companies (company register), cartographic information (national map), statistical data, transport timetables, legislation, database of postcodes, data on major pollution sources (emissions of pollutants).

Russia has got good scores on disclosure in the sphere of state purchases: the experts have estimated the accessibility level at 70%, thereby set the RF among five world leaders on this indicator. Also the percent of disclosure in the sphere of the budget and national statistics has turned out to be high enough, here the index of our country makes 60%. As for the rest spheres there is a visible lag: data availability about transport timetables, in legislation, about registered companies and election returns the experts have estimated at 45%, and the availability of cartographic information – at 10%.

Table. Open data index in different countries according to Open Knowledge Foundation, United Kingdom
PlaceCountryRegistra-tion dataStatisticsLegis-lationGovern-ment spendingGovern-ment budget<…>Total score


Great Britain

100% 100% 90% 100% 90% <…> 940
2 USA 5% 100% 85% 90% 100% <…> 855
3 Denmark 100% 100% 100% 40% 100% <…> 835
4 Norway 90% 100% 30% 10% 90% <…> 755
5 Netherlands 45% 60% 100% 10% 100% <…> 740
6 Finland 55% 85% 70% 30% 45% <…> 700
7 Switzerland 45% 100% 45% 5% 100% <…> 670
8 New Zealand 70% 100% 100% 0% 100% <…> 660
9 Australia 45% 100% 45% 0% 75% <…> 660
10 Canada 45% 40% 60% 10% 100% <…> 590
15 Italy 30% 100% 50% 20% 100% <…> 515
16 France 35% 75% 50% 10% 90% <…> 510
27 Japan 10% 40% 35% 5% 70% <…> 440
30 Russia 45% 60% 45% 70% 60% <…> 425
34 China 45% 60% 55% 0% 55% <…> 415
38 Germany 25% 60% 45% 10% 60% <…> 410
58 Belgium 30% 35% 35% 0% 45% <…> 265
70 Cyprus 10% 20% 0% 0% 0% <…> 30

At the moment Great Britain is the only one country from G8, earned the highest score (100%) on the level of openness of companies’ registration data. Also Denmark has the maximal score on this point.

Germany has become the least open one from G8 countries, on the accessibility of governmental information taken as a whole, and the overall rating is closed, expected, by Cyprus.

However, the government agencies of different countries demonstrate contradictory relation to the protection of data and their confidentiality. According to the research data of American consulting company Forrester Research in 2013, China and Malaysia have the least level of legal protection. There are minimal restrictions in Russia, as well as in the USA, Brazil, Chile and India. And maximal restrictions are set in Norway, Finland, Germany and other European countries, as well as in Argentine.

openness of companies’ registration data

Picture. Security and protection level of confidential data in countries of the world according to Forrester Research, the USA, 2013.

The experts note that as of today Russia is integrated into the global process of open data publication. The world economic effect from the introduction of open data makes $3–5 trillion per annum. Such economy is connected with the increase of economic potential due to the increase of effectiveness of new products and services creation, as well as to the reduction of risks. Investment attractiveness of the information sector is rising at the present time, because the knowledge of true and the most updated information gives competitive advantages independent of the line of activity. Like they say, who owns the information, owns the world.