[MyData & Open Data] Advice on EU Open Data project

stef s at ctrlc.hu
Sat Jan 3 15:10:34 UTC 2015

On Sat, Jan 03, 2015 at 12:17:14PM +0100, Friedrich Lindenberg wrote:
> [...snip...]
> The project is called "OpenInterests.eu" and it combines data from a
> variety of European-level data sources into a sort of social network of who
> is lobbying and doing business with the EU institutions. By it's very

excellent project!

> [...snip...]
> Adding to this, I have a larger "memory" than the EU TR: people can remove
> their own records from the official register, but that does not effect a

the historical aspect is crucial in this case i believe.

> This has lead to trouble in only one case, where a person signed up for TR
> and entered what they now claim is false information.

if they correct the information, i believe the corrected one is displayed, and
not the historical one, right?

> They threatened to sue me for libel for reproducing the data after they'd
> deleted it from TR.

libel? hehe. (based on the assumption that libel is a 1st class action, and
not applicable when you copy the "statement" from the public source.)
interesting that the threat is not based on privacy arguments. maybe walter
or some other legal person can give more insights.

> I did a hack on the web site to replace their entries with a notice that
> says that I was compelled to remove information about them - which promptly
> rose to rank #1 for their name on Google. Today, they started threatening
> to sue me for producing that notice...

hehe. (see my previous hehe)

> In any case, I feel that I need to lay out a clear policy on personal
> information for this site.

indeed. it is important to make understand people that involvement in
processes that influence our society demands transparency. a simple
explanation might help that. otherwise we get to the stupid google meme, that
deletion of such data from 3rd parties is ok. that is also why i think the
correction of the data in the register should be the way to do this, and then
your db will also update and show whatever they want to be seen last. the cost
of this are much less than the cost of suing. 

> I'm worried that, while what I am doing might be
> legally OK, I am behaving like an arse towards these small-time/once-off
> lobbyists.

i guess with a little prosa you can give it some context? a faq? a data

> The goal of the project is to shed light on power, not to shame
> people for being a bit stupid while filling out a messy online form.

indeed. that however can be corrected in the register, and thus also in your

> I'd be interested to hear how people on this list would resolve some of
> these issues:
> * Should I (by default) delete entries from the TR when they get removed,
> even if that means I loose information about some large lobbying groups
> which try to escape transparency?


> * What mechanism for arbitrating removal requests should I have? [nb. total
> budget for the whole thing: 0 EUR :) ]


> * What should be the criteria for such a mechanism? What makes a person
> "irrelevant" in the context of such a database?

only non-valid entries, like the one a friend created on the Illuminati in the
register, if you would be Adam Weishaupt, you'd be entitled for removal i
guess. but even in this case i'd argue against removal, and instead post a
note that this was a "joke registrant" and the data should be considered
invalid. only preserved for historical reasons.

> I think it may be interesting to discuss these issues in this group,
> because the answers may also apply to other, similar projects.

indeed. i think it would make sense to hand over this project to an ngo or a
group of ngos so there is some kind of budget and legal infrastructure to
handle such cases. and if we succeed in protecting this data, it will create
precedents also for other projects.

i'm very happy to get myself, ceo and transp intl bxl into the loop and behind
your fine back! walters vrijschrift is also a nice support org. <3

ps: forget the pseudonymisation that walter suggested, that doesn't really

otr fp: https://www.ctrlc.hu/~stef/otr.txt

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