IMPROVING ACCESS TO AND EXPANDING USE OF
PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMATION
Proposal for Directive on Public Sector Information
On the 5th June 2002 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on the re-use and commercial exploitation of public sector information.
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The public sector collects and produces vast amounts of information, much of which is of interest to individuals and businesses, and which can be the raw material for value-added information services produced by the content industries.
There are however, many barriers for the transformation of this potential into usable products and services. These barriers lead to uncertainties, which in turn result into a lack of investment from both the public and the private sectors, degrading the level of services for users.
The Commission has addressed these problems in a Green Paper on Public Sector Information in the Information Society (January 1999). On 23 October 2001 the Commission adopted a Communication on the re-use and the commercial exploitation of public sector information: "eEurope 2002: Creating a EU Framework for the Exploitation of Public Sector Information", outlining the political orientation of the Commission on this issue and announcing a proposal for a directive. This proposal for a directive was adopted on the 5th June 2002 and is now being discussed by Council and Parliament
In addition, the eContent programme will stimulate different types of activities:
- Experiments in concrete projects showcasing the use of public sector information (PSI) to make added-value services and products.
- The establishment of European digital data collections.
The importance of public sector information is underlined in the eEurope action plan, that was adopted by the European Council of Feira of 19-20 June 2000. In the chapter on 'European digital content for the global networks' the information held by the public sector is singled out as an important type of digital content. It is also singled out as an area for action in the eEurope 2005 action plan.