By politics.co.uk staff
Vast amounts of government data have been released for public scrutiny for the first time today - thanks to the work of the world wide web's inventor.
The launch of a new website, data.gov.uk, is the culmination of work following Gordon Brown's request to make government data available to the public in June last year.
The site contains non-personal data designed to help businesses and individuals. A new open licence has been introduced allowing government-owned data to be used freely.
Software applications are still being developed to help ordinary members of the public make sense of the statistics now available.
In the preview stage, software developers worked on features including a 'postcode newspaper', which details the public services provided in a postcode area, a 'school finder' website and a video showing traffic flows and congestion on the motorway network over the last ten years.
"Making public data available for re-use is about increasing accountability and transparency and letting people create new, innovative ways of using it," Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man widely credited with inventing the internet and a key figure in the development on the site, said.
"Government data should be a public resource. By releasing it, we can unlock new ideas for delivering public services, help communities and society work better, and let talented entrepreneurs and engineers create new businesses and services."