Open data is the term used to describe data sets that have the potential to be freely used and redistributed. The use of open data is usually only limited to the accessibility of the data, the ability to read the data and the cost and rights for redistribution of the data. Open data can be local, regional and global in scope and a wave of open data portals and apps have been established to effectively deliver information to individuals.

Open data could add value to businesses and increase efficiency on a worldwide scale. Sharing information across business sectors will also become ever more important because it will produce greater insights into consumer behaviour, for example, there might be mutual benefit in a supermarket teaming up with a petrol station and a car rental company to share information on customer activity. 

Governments are important sources of open data because of the vast amounts of data that they retain. In Jersey, open government data is data held by the government that has been published online, in a machine-readable format, under a permissive licence.

As open data becomes increasingly important, so too do concerns surroundings its use; competitors may use open data to their advantage, intellectual property could be at risk and the importance of protecting the privacy of individuals is to be considered. In Jersey, the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005 controls how public and private organizations use personal data. A licence is also a necessary pre-requisite in Jersey for the use of government open data so that the licensee can be clear on what they can and cannot do with the data, and so that people consuming data after it has been re-published can be clear on its source and authenticity.