In a discussion with The Guardian, Network member Sir Tim Berners-Lee and his co-founder of the Open Data Institute, Sir Nigel Shadbolt, touched on some concerns related to the growing open data space. They focused in particular on questions of open data being used for nefarious purposes (beyond those related to privacy concerns):
“Asked about whether open data could have security vulnerabilities, Berners-Lee said criminals could manipulate open data for profit, for example by placing bets on the bank rate or consumer price index and then hacking into the sites where the data is published and switching the figures.
‘If you falsify government data then there are all kinds of ways that you could get financial gain, so yes,’ he said, ‘it’s important that even though people think about open data as not a big security problem, it is from the point of view of being accurate.’
He added: ‘I suppose it’s not as exciting as personal data for hackers to get into because it’s public.’”
Sir Tim also touched on the need for open data to be more inclusive in order to continue its growth and impact:
“Berners-Lee said during a presentation that a key challenge, particularly in the era of Brexit and Donald Trump, was making reliable data available to people who felt disenfranchised: ‘How can we help everyone in the country feel that they have access to good quality information … whether they get it on the web or not – maybe they get it through TV and radio? How can we restore a culture and civilisation based on knowledge … and a democratic system based on knowledge, based on facts and truth?’