Chancellor George Osborne has spoken of the government's desire to be at the cutting edge of open data, and has announced a new initiative and appointment to drive this agenda.
Osborne said at the Google Zeitgeist 2011 conference on Monday that the government is committed to using open data to improve performance and accountability and reduce costs.
"Our ambition is to become the world leader in open data, and accelerate the accountability revolution that the internet age has unleashed. Because, let's be clear, the benefits are immense," he said.
Osborne announced that the government has appointed a former US administration advisor on open data to bolster its efforts in this area.
"We have just recruited Beth Noveck, who used to work at the White House running president Obama's Open Government Initiative, to help us take this agenda forward," he said.
"She's a world class recruit, and she'll be working alongside the likes of Martha Lane Fox, Tim Kelsey and Tom Steinberg to harness new technologies to make government more innovative and accountable."
Osborne also announced that Imperial College London and University College London will establish a new research facility to measure and evaluate the huge volumes of data being created by the digital revolution.
"[They] are developing plans for a partnership to create a new research centre focused on the massive amounts of data - energy data, transport data, social data - being generated in the world's metropolises," he said.
"This 'smart cities' research centre will develop new technologies in partnership with leading companies to harness and exploit these huge new datasets, and support the businesses and technologies of the future."
Osborne added that the centre will be based in the so-called 'Silicon Roundabout' area of Shoreditch as part of the government's Tech City initiative to turn the area into a digital hub akin to Silicon Valley.
However, Osborne warned that there are issues around the use of public data, outlining security challenges that come with digitising public services.
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