Last night I attended a set of talks organised by Open Data Manchester, as part of Manchester's excellent Future Everything festival that is running this week. The talks were about how open data sets can be beneficial to the "Third Sector" - voluntary, charity and community work, to benefit the disadvantaged.
Since our inception, the openness of government has been a key stone of Pirate politics. A democratically run country absolutely requires openness and transparency to exist, in order to make the elected representatives accountable to the electorate. It's through obfuscation of data, back door deals, and deliberate misuse of facts and statistics that a government manipulates their position of power to their own ends, strengthening their own position, and eroding the ability for the electorate to hold them accountable, creating a vicious circle. The end result of this is a direct route towards absolute power, and, as we all know, absolute power corrupts absolutely.