In an interesting article on opensource.com, Melanie Chernoff complains about how the terms ‘open data’ and ‘publicly available data’ are being used interchangeably. I have to confess I’m guilty of that.
“Simply put, all open data is publicly available. But not all publicly available data is open.
“Open data does not mean that a government or other entity releases all of its data to the public. It would be unconscionable for the government to give out all of your private, personal data to anyone who asks for it. Rather, open data means that whatever data is released is done so in a specific way to allow the public to access it without having to pay fees or be unfairly restricted in its use.”
She has a handy diagram to demonstrate the difference: