Paul Maltby: ‘I’ve had to unfollow civil servants who tweet only about meetings’

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The head of open data at the Cabinet Office on braving social media, following up the Shakespeare review and the G8 summit

You joined the Cabinet Office as director of open data and transparency in January. What will be your biggest challenge?
Promoting open data on the international stage. The UK is president of the G8 this year, and forming a collective, international agreement on open data is one of our central aims. We are also lead co-chair of the Open Government Partnership [committed governments to curbing corruption and promoting human rights]. Looking worldwide has been a learning curve – not all countries have a central authority on open data, so everyone starts on a different page.

And your biggest achievement so far?
Month by month, we are releasing more data sets. I think the UK has a legitimate claim to being the world leader on open data. Gavin Starks of the Open Data Institute says that 2013 is to open data as 1993 was for the internet – people are experimenting with what is possible.

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