In this case information which is publicly available and searchable has been made less accessible by an agency in their site (breaking a site scraper). Then after the developer asks the agency for access to the data under FOI the agency (after several delays) offers to make it available for $4,000.
As far as can be determined from the information provided, the process for releasing the data – which is already in a database – simply requires a single SQL command.
The appearance is that the agency is being badly let down by its IT systems or staff – or that it is unwilling to provide the data.
Either situation is a sad reflection on the agency and on the commitment of the government to openness.
I’ll keep tracking this request – as are also a number of people in the open data space – to see how it is resolved, and how long it takes to do so.
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