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Traversing Digital BabelInformation, E-Government, and Exchange$
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Alon Peled

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027878

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027878.001.0001

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Public Sector Data as a Contested Commodity

Public Sector Data as a Contested Commodity

(p.105) 5 Public Sector Data as a Contested Commodity
Traversing Digital Babel

Alon Peled

The MIT Press

The chapter explains the concept of a contested commodity - a good whose insertion into the marketplace raises ethical debate. Public data is a contested commodity because agencies hold sensitive information about citizens that may not be suited to trade. The histories of the commoditization of thirty contested commodities reveal four lessons for the commoditization of public sector data. A case study of the commoditization of cadavers in 18th and 19th Century Britain reveals an additional four lessons for public sector data exchange.

Keywords:   public sector, government agencies, data, exchange, information sharing, contested commodity, restricted commoditization, cadavers trade, UK, 19th Century

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