The raw material for digital business models is data. And administrations have masses of it. The German government has now decided to adopt a bill to make access to this data easier.
The Open Data Act , as it has been submitted in its draft form by the government, plans for the federal authorities to make publically-financed data available for free, permanently and in an effective manner. This often happens anyway, says Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, but the new regulations would make the publication of this data the norm. The data should be made available in its original state, machine-readable and without any access limits, on the pre-existing portal GovData . It can be freely used, re-used and distributed by anyone, as long as no third-party rights contradict this.
The German government expects the amendments to the E-Government Act to provoke more innovation and fresh momentum for the economy. As examples, the minister named new sites and apps that use traffic, weather and geo-data. However, the details of the draft are sparking criticism. Amongst other things, there are complaints that there are no existing rights to the provision of the data, so it can not be contested in court. Furthermore the state administrations, who also possess lots of concrete, usable data and in some cases (for example in Berlin ) have developed their own solutions, are not affected by the regulation at all.