Legislation as dataJohn Sheridan25 January 2012
• “The acceptance of the rule of law as a constitutional  principle requires that a citizen, before committing himself to ...
The web has changed who is accessing legislation andwhy, just as much as it has changed access to healthcareinformation 3
4
An old slide (from 2005)5
6
Legislation as data• Three considerations for legislation as data    o Typographic layout    o Versioning / changes over t...
Foundations - naming things• If you visit legislation.gov.uk you will see we have taken  great care with naming things Ret...
Some of the names are quitesophisticated…•   UK Public General Act (ukpga)•   1981•   Chapter 69•   Section 5•   As it ext...
10
European Legislation Identifier11
Domestic                                                        New                             Amending           Europea...
Domestic                                                    New            European                   New Amending        ...
Legislation as data, legislation as code• Legislation as data – the information contained in legislation  can be accessed ...
15
Data• All the information on legislation.gov.uk is available as open  data under the terms of the Open Government Licence•...
17
Linked Data18
Henry Maudslay                       (1771–1831)He also developed the first industriallypractical screw-cutting lathe in 1...
Documents of the Semantic Web      Ever since the start                                                         Data      ...
Documents of the Semantic WebFacts in legislation as      Ever since the start                                            ...
Linked Data• URIs to name things• Graph based data model22
So how does Linked Data help?23
Amending legislation     Section 12 (4) amends the Charities Act 1993,     inserting some words into this Act.24
Bringing into force the Act     Sections 15 to 20 come into force     immediately when the Act is passed                  ...
So, “A” changes “B” when “C” says so     So the timing for the rest of the Act coming into force     is left open for the ...
Section 12 (4) came into force 1/1/2011        Coming into force on 1st January 2011              Section 12 (4)27
“A” changes “B” when “C” says so      Academies             Confers power     Secretary of       Act 2010                 ...
29
30
31
Location                Time32
Location                Concepts                           Time33
Location                Concepts                  Many of these are                 defined in legislation                ...
Data, data, everywhere• Data in legislation   o Definitions   o Changes   o Duties   o Powers   o Offences   o Transpositi...
Concepts are defined in legislation• What does it mean to be a company• What does it mean to be a school• and so on…36
37
Designation38
Economic data39
40
Transposition41
What changes to the law improve the             conviction rates?42
What changes to the law improve the             conviction rates?       Changes           to      legislation43
What changes to the law improve the             conviction rates?       Changes                   Conviction           to ...
What changes to the law improve the             conviction rates?       Changes                              Conviction   ...
Legislation URIs link everything together• Identifier     o http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/{type}/{year}/{number}/sectio...
Not all information is equal• Publishing digital information changes the form of the  content• The facts on which £ billio...
48
Open Data as Operating Model49
Inspirations: Open Source Software50
Why does Open Source Software work?51
“The impossible public good”?• Large and complex systems• Enabled by the internet• Two elements,   o a system of sustainab...
Can we apply the same logic to data?53
Open Government Data: a new impossiblepublic good?• Large and complex data• Enabled by the internet• Two elements,   o a s...
Expert Participation• Make the data available maximise, encourage and support  re-use• Inside-out, transform internal proc...
Challenges•   Governance•   Process•   Quality•   Technology•   Culture•   Guarantees
Legislation data as a public good• Old world: commercially licence the data to bring in the  resources needed to create an...
Final thoughts“We shape our tools and they in turn shape us”– Marshall McLuhan58
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Legislation as Data

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Friday Lunchtime Lectures at the Open Data Institute: 25 January 2013. For our third lecture... Legislation as Data Legislation affects us all. Many of our most important rights, duties and obligations are set out in statute law. What does it mean to think of legislation as data and how might open data thinking help lead us to good law? John Sheridan, Head of Legislation Services at The National Archives, guided us through legislation.gov.uk. Explaining what aspects of legislation can be represented as data and why the statute book can perhaps be better presented, understood and managed starting from a data perspective.

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  • Reasons why Right to know if our liberty is going to be taken away, by doing something or not doing something Right to know, our civil rights and duties Economic benefit Types of law in the UK Statute law European law Judge made law We lack a carefully drafted legal code, as they have in Germany, France, Italy Our statute book is a complicated place – it requires effort to tame it
  • Quick demonstration of legislation.gov.uk Google search Find a piece of legislation
  • Names are important, they provide the framework or the architecture around which
  • Examples of people talking VERY specifically about pieces of legislation. All the links are shortened links to legislation.gov.uk, which because of our URIs, encourages people to be precise when talking about legislation. Here Ben Parsons is discussing the rights of the police in relation to public order and a May Day event in Brighton.
  • Graph shows SIs made under the European Communities Act, by type (Regulation, Rule or Order), by Dept, in terms of the size of legislation (using the page count, not the number of SIs) Domestic SIs, by type (Regulation, Order, Rule) Points to note Huge number of temporary Orders made by DfT Orders in Council made shown as Privy Council (so exercise of Royal Perogative powers)
  • Points to note Substantial portion of new regulation does come from Europe Impact of devolution to Wales (the Welsh Government bubbles – including a substantial amount of the new EU legislation) Defra and BIS have been the large implementors of new EU driven regulations
  • Demonstration of legislation.gov.uk API
  • 60% of all servers run linux (microsoft is 40%) 65% of web servers run apache (IIS is 16%)
  • “ The acceptance of the rule of law as a constitutional principle requires that a citizen, before committing himself to any course of action, should be able to know in advance what are the legal principles which flow from it ” – Lord Diplock, House of Lords, 1975
  • Transcript of "Legislation as Data "

    1. 1. Legislation as dataJohn Sheridan25 January 2012
    2. 2. • “The acceptance of the rule of law as a constitutional principle requires that a citizen, before committing himself to any course of action, should be able to know in advance what are the legal principles which flow from it” – Lord Diplock, House of Lords, 1975• “The law must be adequately accessible” – European Court of Human Rights2
    3. 3. The web has changed who is accessing legislation andwhy, just as much as it has changed access to healthcareinformation 3
    4. 4. 4
    5. 5. An old slide (from 2005)5
    6. 6. 6
    7. 7. Legislation as data• Three considerations for legislation as data o Typographic layout o Versioning / changes over time o Semantics• Semantic representation using RDF and Linked Data o URIs for things o RDF data model o subject - property - object• Requires granular URIs to name things o Identifier o Document o Representation7
    8. 8. Foundations - naming things• If you visit legislation.gov.uk you will see we have taken great care with naming things Returns an html document for United Kingdom Public General Act (ukpga), 2005, Chapter 14, Section 1 Returns an html document with a list from all legislation types where the title contains “wildlife”8
    9. 9. Some of the names are quitesophisticated…• UK Public General Act (ukpga)• 1981• Chapter 69• Section 5• As it extends to England• As it stood on 30th January 2001• Displayed as an HTML document with the timeline on• Although URIs are opaque having this type of design changes how people use the service9
    10. 10. 10
    11. 11. European Legislation Identifier11
    12. 12. Domestic New Amending European Regulations Rules New TemporaryAmending Regulations OrdersNew Statutory Instruments 2000-2012 (by size of the legislation)
    13. 13. Domestic New European New Amending AmendingNew Regulations 2000-2012 (by size of the legislation) 13
    14. 14. Legislation as data, legislation as code• Legislation as data – the information contained in legislation can be accessed and used by computer programs• Legislation as code – legislation is (or becomes) a set of processing instructions for a computer to follow14
    15. 15. 15
    16. 16. Data• All the information on legislation.gov.uk is available as open data under the terms of the Open Government Licence• To access the data, visit any page and add: o /data.xml o /data.rdf o /data.xht• For lists o /data.feed16
    17. 17. 17
    18. 18. Linked Data18
    19. 19. Henry Maudslay (1771–1831)He also developed the first industriallypractical screw-cutting lathe in 1800, allowingstandardisation of screw thread sizes for thefirst time. This allowed the concept ofinterchangeability (a idea that was alreadytaking hold) to be practically applied to nutsand bolts. Before this, all nuts and bolts hadto be made as matching pairs only. Thismeant that when machines weredisassembled, careful account had to be keptof the matching nuts and bolts ready for whenreassembly took place.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Maudslay
    20. 20. Documents of the Semantic Web Ever since the start Data developments, one of the issues was how to make various types of data available on the Semantic Web for, eg, further integration. Technically, this means making the data available in RDF. One approach is to encode the RDF data in one of its serialization formats, ie, RDF/XML or Turtle, but that approach does not really scale. Interfaces to databases are being developed that can, for example, provide on-the-fly conversion of data into RDF, often via SPARQL endpoints. Automatic or semi-automatic conversions exist for a number of other formats. In general it has been recognized that one should not look for one specific approach; rather, different types of data on the Web require their own, data-specific way of expressing Unstructured text Structured data HTML web pages, CSV files, RDF PDF documents Linked Data20
    21. 21. Documents of the Semantic WebFacts in legislation as Ever since the start Data developments, one of the issues was how to make structured data various types of data available on the Semantic Web for, eg, further integration. Technically, this means making the data available in RDF. One approach is to encode the RDF data in one of its serialization formats, ie, RDF/XML or Turtle, but that approach does not really scale. Interfaces to databases are being developed that can, for example, provide on-the-fly conversion of data into RDF, often via SPARQL endpoints. Automatic or semi-automatic conversions exist for a number of other formats. In general it has been recognized that one should not look for one specific approach; rather, different types of data on the Web require their own, data-specific way of expressing Unstructured text Structured data HTML web pages, CSV files, RDF PDF documents Linked Data21
    22. 22. Linked Data• URIs to name things• Graph based data model22
    23. 23. So how does Linked Data help?23
    24. 24. Amending legislation Section 12 (4) amends the Charities Act 1993, inserting some words into this Act.24
    25. 25. Bringing into force the Act Sections 15 to 20 come into force immediately when the Act is passed But what about Section 12???25
    26. 26. So, “A” changes “B” when “C” says so So the timing for the rest of the Act coming into force is left open for the Secretary of State to decide…26
    27. 27. Section 12 (4) came into force 1/1/2011 Coming into force on 1st January 2011 Section 12 (4)27
    28. 28. “A” changes “B” when “C” says so Academies Confers power Secretary of Act 2010 State Section 19 (2) Makes Academies Commences SI 2010/1937 Act 2010 Schedule 3 Section 12 (4) Inserts text into Charities Act 1993 Schedule 2 (ca)28
    29. 29. 29
    30. 30. 30
    31. 31. 31
    32. 32. Location Time32
    33. 33. Location Concepts Time33
    34. 34. Location Concepts Many of these are defined in legislation Time34
    35. 35. Data, data, everywhere• Data in legislation o Definitions o Changes o Duties o Powers o Offences o Transpositions o Designations• Data about legislation o Economic - Impact Assessments o Social – opinions on twitter35
    36. 36. Concepts are defined in legislation• What does it mean to be a company• What does it mean to be a school• and so on…36
    37. 37. 37
    38. 38. Designation38
    39. 39. Economic data39
    40. 40. 40
    41. 41. Transposition41
    42. 42. What changes to the law improve the conviction rates?42
    43. 43. What changes to the law improve the conviction rates? Changes to legislation43
    44. 44. What changes to the law improve the conviction rates? Changes Conviction to rates legislation statistics44
    45. 45. What changes to the law improve the conviction rates? Changes Conviction to Linked Data Standards rates legislation statistics45
    46. 46. Legislation URIs link everything together• Identifier o http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/{type}/{year}/{number}/section/{number} o eg http://www.legislation.gov.uk/id/ukpga/2010/32/section/12/4• Document o http://www.legislation.gov.uk/{type}/{year}/{number}/section/{number} o eg http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/32/section/12#section-12-4• Representations o /data.xml o /data.xht o /data.pdf o /data.rdf o and for any list, /data.feed46
    47. 47. Not all information is equal• Publishing digital information changes the form of the content• The facts on which £ billions turn or that impact on people’s lives require different treatment from the ephemeral – not least to ensure the integrity of the public record• Who is making information available, by what right, what processes has it been subject to, become key questions• Increasingly important to express provenance for high-end sources of information, such as legislation.gov.uk47
    48. 48. 48
    49. 49. Open Data as Operating Model49
    50. 50. Inspirations: Open Source Software50
    51. 51. Why does Open Source Software work?51
    52. 52. “The impossible public good”?• Large and complex systems• Enabled by the internet• Two elements, o a system of sustainable value creation o a system of governance holds together a community of producers• Distributed property rights, eg the GNU Public Licence (GPL)52
    53. 53. Can we apply the same logic to data?53
    54. 54. Open Government Data: a new impossiblepublic good?• Large and complex data• Enabled by the internet• Two elements, o a system of sustainable value creation o a system of governance holds together a community of producers• Distributed property rights enabled by the Open Government Licence54
    55. 55. Expert Participation• Make the data available maximise, encourage and support re-use• Inside-out, transform internal processes, systems and tools to external ones• Retain what adds value – practice, process and control• Invite expert participation from other parts of government, businesses, academics and individuals• Open data enables investment
    56. 56. Challenges• Governance• Process• Quality• Technology• Culture• Guarantees
    57. 57. Legislation data as a public good• Old world: commercially licence the data to bring in the resources needed to create and maintain high quality information that is easy to re-use• New world: open the data and enable participation, to bring in the resources needed to create and maintain high quality information that is easy to re-use
    58. 58. Final thoughts“We shape our tools and they in turn shape us”– Marshall McLuhan58
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