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Going open: assessing risk

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Defra content design, Open data

Back in November, Alex Coley blogged about being comfortable with risk – explaining the risks we consider when making our data open and the simple tool we use to help assess them.

The Open Data Risk Assessment Tool was developed by the Environment Agency, and a version of it is now being used across the Defra Group to assess the risk behind making datasets available.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Data helps users get from A to B, but every activity involves some degree of risk – not just for travellers (users) but also for owners (this also applies to the owners of this bridge in this metaphor, but don't dwell too long on it). Photo CC-BY-SA Stuart Yeates/Wikimedia Commons.

Technical experts who understand the nuts and bolts of data being considered for release can follow the steps in the risk assessment to identify whether there are any potential issues around making it available.

These experts may not understand the intricacies of some of the issues, such as the applicability of laws around personal information, third party data licensing or other intellectual property rights. They may not have considered impact on public safety, or issues around publishing that could compromise commercial or legal proceedings and enforcement.

The risk assessment walks the technical expert through a series of questions which highlight whether there is a risk that a warrants a full due-diligence assessment of the data.

Each completed risk assessment has to be signed off by a senior manager from the business area that owns the data to ensure that they are happy with any risks that have been identified.

In the spirit of being transparent in how we are doing these assessments, you can access the tool here.  

We welcome your feedback on the tool – it helps us to improve it.

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