Open Privacy Legislation

The web holds enormous potential to make legislation openly available as a public resource. Not just so you can read pieces of legislation online, but also to analyse, annotate, combine and reference using new tools. The Declaration of Parliamentary Openness was released in 2012. It lays out a set of best practices for national parliaments to make their information open.

Taking data protection and privacy legislation as a case study, we assessed a range of government websites and rated them according to a few of the criteria from the Declaration. We rated countries on a 1-4 scale based on the following criteria; is there a URI for the original act (1 point), the most current version of the act (1), is there a permissive license (1), and is the URI 'neat' (1)?

We mapped this data: live demo

This project started as a LegalHack@OKCon 2013 challenge.

18 Stars of Open Legislation?

John Sheridan also came up with a set of additional criteria, a little like Tim Berners-Lee's Five Stars of Linked Data, which set out some additional technical best practices for publishing legislation;


  • there is a URI for each legislative act
  • the URI resolves on the web to open legislation


  • the URI Set is persistent with guarantees about availability
  • Occam's razor has been applied (no cruft in the URI).


  • URI set contains abstract identifiers and document identifiers
  • URI set supports multiple manifestations (XML, PDF)
  • URI resolution supports content negotiation (e.g. browser can request content as plain text rather

than html)

  • traditional citation scheme can be mapped to new style URIs with no additional information
  • the URIs are human readable / reader friendly
  • the URIs are hackable
  • there are batch and list views available as well as identifiers for documents
  • URIs support provision level addressing
  • URIs support point in time addressing
  • URIs support jurisdiction variations
  • URIs support known future states (prospective versions)
  • URIs support possible future states (proposed versions)
  • URIs support a variety of aliases and searches to aid use
  • URIs are formally described with a IETF URI Template specification
  • Reuben Binns (@rdbinns)
  • project/legal/openprivacypolicy.txt
  • Last modified: 2013/09/30 10:04
  • by loleg