What should an Open Data Law look like?


A bill in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Projeto de Lei 7.804/2014 proposes the introduction of an “Open Data Law” in Brazil. In your opinion, what aspects should such a law cover? Licensing issues? Governance? Mandatory commitments and schedules to open data?

The bill is undergoing a public consultation period that ends tomorrow.

Another example of an open data law that I know of is the one in Korea in 2013. Does anyone know what are the most important aspects of that law, and how well did its implementation fare so far? Does anyone you know of any other examples of national open data laws?

I have also opened a discussion about this in Portuguese on the Brazilian local forum.

Assessment of the Korean Open Data Law
The differences and simillarites between Open data policies and laws

My response to a proposed open data law in Queensland

Government focus was on guaranteed supply of data so people could reuse with confidence

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Thanks, @Stephen.

Is the content of the bill available somewhere? Also, that was in 2015. Was the bill eventually enacted into a law?


The discussion paper that was released is available via:


An early election was called, the government changed, and the bill didn’t proceed. The new government is now consulting on an open data policy.

You may be interested in other Australian open data policies:


Here are some good resources:

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Hi @herrmann
These are some resources for open data policy:

what’s more is, I was looking for the open data laws like you, but I didn’t find anything useful. If you find any, plz send them to me.
I hope there would be enough time and these I sent would be useful. sorry if you’ve seen it before.


Your topic enhances an old question in my mind about the differences of open data policy and law, of which I asked in this link.
I’ll be nice of you to say any idea of yours about it.


That is an excellent question @mhkhani.

While I thank everyone for sharing information about open data policies, I was really asking about a possible open data law. Brazil already has a national Open Data Policy, institutionalized by a relatively new Decree 8.777/2016. Some Brazilian cities (e.g., Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro) also have open data policies of their own. Besides, guidelines on open data policies are relatively easy to find.

A law, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to be more a lot more far reaching. For instance, in countries that have independent states, the Constitution might allow for a federal law to guide the local law, depending on what subject the law is about. That is the case in Brazil, for instance, with the Access to Information Law (Law 12.527/2011). Besides the federal one, there are hundreds of local (state and municipal) Access to Information Laws in Brazil.

In terms of open data licensing, for instance, while a Decree (or a policy established by a Decree) may make open data licensing mandatory or automatic for governmental institutions, a Law, on the other hand, can determine that some of the possible legal restrictions on the use of data (such as a copyright or a database right) does not apply when the rights holder is the public administration. This is a much stronger form of open licensing, one that cannot be easily revoked when the person or party in power at the moment changes.

This is just one example of something that would be good in an open data law. I was hoping for more examples specifically of things that should be stated in Law instead of just a policy or Decree.

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Hi @herrmann, I found open data law of NewYork:

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This is the description about open data law in NewYork from “Planning and designing open government data programs: An ecosystem approach” : sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740624X1630003X

Although New York’s OGD program is influenced by national andNew York State developments, it is formally designed and governed according to Local Law 11 of 2012,Publishing Open Data, adopted in March2012. This law authorizes the creation of a citywide open data portal to be operated by the Department of Information Technology andTelecommunication (DOITT) and it requires all city government agencies to describe the public datasets under their control and to establish compliance plans to make that data available on the citywide portal.Each agency must appoint an open data coordinator, prioritize its datasets for publication, and provide a timeline for publishing all datasets that are not exempted by law (e.g. by special privacy provisions) by the end of 2018. The portal is also required to publish open data policies and to host a discussion forum to encourage public discussion and new data requests. DOITT is required to prepare a technical standard manual to guide city agencies in publishing their data and to report progress to the Mayor and City Council every July 15, starting in 2014. Thus, New York’s initial OGD strategy is to publish essentially all agency datasets on a single city-wide portal accessible to the public.

maybe useful!


A new open data bill, PL 7.843/2017, has been proposed by this year in Brazil by representative Alessandro Molon. It’s not just an open data bill, as it deals with a lot of other issues related to the efficiency of public administration as well.

It is currently undergoing a public consultation period that ends today. Note: I learned about this bill pretty late and did not have the time to analyze it yet, so I am not contributing to the public consultation. If anyone here has been studying the topic of open data legislation and want to weigh in, here’s a very time limited opportunity.


The deadline for the public consultation has been extended to March 2nd, 2018.

I have made a few contributions, especially one that should automatically openly license all the data government publishes, essentially removing the obstacles that copyright law presents to open government data usage. It is under Article 33. Please upvote it if you can, it only requires a quick and free registration at the platform.

If you are knowledgeable about the issue and understand Portuguese, you are also more than welcome to write your own suggestions as well. I’d be glad to discuss them.

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Thanks to Google Translate, I managed to read thru the draft law :slight_smile:

Here are some things you may find useful:

Hope this is useful!

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You could ask that the government

that would be a good start

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+1000 for promoting w3c techniques


While both of these would be good things to ask for, I don’t think any of them have a place in an ideal Open Data Law.

Adopting the IODC is a political matter that requires commitment from authorities. As such, it makes more sense to be in an executive decision document (such as a presidential or legislative Decree) than in the law itself. For example, in Brazil, that was the case when founding the Open Government Partnership, which was established in the federal executive branch by a Decree.

Technical best practices, such as those recommended by the W3C, have a place in technical documents and norms, not in law. The DWBP, specifically, is quite good at what it proposes (documenting techincal best practices). However, the open data community shouldn’t blindingly accept any output by the W3C, as those can sometimes be aligned in promoting agendas that are antithetical to the “open” movement, as seen recently with its recommendation of Encrypted Media Extensions, a DRM mechanism pushed forward by giant companies such as Google, Microsoft and Netflix. So we should be always wary and critical of such proposals. For example, I particularly find that the Tabular Data Package standard, promoted by the Frictionless Data initiative within Open Knowledge International, to be of much more practical use than the W3C’s CSV on the Web, as discussed here.

Anyway, I digress. Technical standards are in constant evolution and law is something difficult and slow to change. I see no place for technical standards in top level legislation, be it about open data or otherwise.


In a post on the Open Knowledge blog, @anab, @carlos_iglesias_moro, @dannylammerhirt and Stefaan Verhulst have reported the results of a workshop they convened at the Open Data Research Symposium 2018. The workshop group has assembled a model for open data governance composed from four layers:

  • management layer
  • legal and policy layer
  • technical standards layer
  • capacity layer

For this discussion on the ideal open data legislation, especially relevant are the questions the group has raised for the legal and policy layer.:

The interplay between legal and policy frameworks: Open data policies operate among other legal and policy frameworks, which can complement, enable, or limit the scope of open data. New frameworks such as GDPR, but also existing right to information and freedom of expression frameworks prompt the question of how the legal environment influences the behaviour and daily decision-making around open data. To address such questions, one could study the discourse and interplay between open data policies as well as tangential policies like smart city or digitalisation policies.

Implementation of law and policies: Furthermore, how are open data frameworks designed to guide the implementation open data? How do they address governmental devolution? Open data governance needs to stretch across all government levels to unlock data from all government levels. What approaches are experimented with to coordinate the implementation of policies across jurisdictions and government branches? To what agencies do open data policies apply, and how do they enable or constrain choices around open data? What agencies define and move forward open data, and how does this influence adoption and sustainability of open data initiatives?

Open governance of law and policy: Besides studying the interaction of privacy protection, right to information, and open data policies, how could open data benefit from policies enabling open governance and civic participation? Do governments develop more integrated strategies for open governance and open data, and if so, what policies and legal mechanisms are in place? If so, how do these laws and policies enable other aspects of open data governance, including more participatory management, more substantive and legally supported citizen participation?

My view is that these questions should enable some interesting discussions on what should be considered when drafting high level legislation on open data.

I didn’t mean to sound dismissive in my post las about the suggestions people made here last year. I most surely think that high level commitments such as the International Open Data Charter and technical standards such as the W3C DWBP have a place in government norms, just not at the top level legislation which is usually difficult to approve in a national congress and slow to change. That would be inadequate for the fast paced change that happen in both the political and technical landscapes. I surely think they do have a place at lower level legislation, such as a decree that depends only on the executive branch and can be changed faster and more easily.

Last but certainly not least, I have since learned that the Franch Parliament was considering a draft bill on Open Data legislation in 2016, titled l’ouverture des données d’intérêt général. However, I searched but could not find out whether or not this bill has since actually been enacted into law, or if it was rejected or still pending. Anyone who watches the French open data initiative more closely could tell me what became of it?

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To answer myself on this point, I finally did find out that the law passed and was enacted in 2016, as LOI n° 2016-1321 du 7 octobre 2016 pour une République numérique. I’m glad I have been improving my French a bit. :grin:

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Thanks @herrmann for referencing our post in this thread. I agree that it is a valuable discussion to have.

Based on my experiences with open data policies, they may often leave leeway for how things are implemented. For example, they may only mandate the implementation of open data including terms like ‘agreed standards’ or ‘licenses allowing for maximal reusability’ leaving space for what will be implemented later on.

It’s interesting that you say the Open Data Charter principles might be more suitable for lower level legislation. Because the Charter has made the case for strong central political leadership, afaik. Perhaps something interesting for @ania_calderon to follow up on.

I’m wondering to what extent our blogpost, combined with your thoughts on legislation indicates a shift of responsibility for open data implementation and how this shift of responsibilities has been handled or could be handled in the future. From what I hear when speaking to people, most OD initiatives still rely on a leading department trying to convince other gov players to publish data, turning open data into piecemeal negotiations.

Does anyone have insights into open data laws and policies and how they distribute responsibilities across agencies?

Perhaps we could start gathering ‘organigrams of responsibilities’ to see which agency has power to do what when implementing OD. I found this viz from Taiwan’s Open Government Data quite helpful.


Also curious to hear people’s opinions regarding the French approach to general interest data and the French policy Augusto referred to above!