The creation of data.gouv.fr is being overseen by Etalab, an agency initiated expressly for the purpose of creating and maintaining the portal, under the direct authority of the Prime Minister.
According to the official statement, Etalab “coordinates the activities of government departments and is supporting the public administration to facilitate the widest possible reuse of its public information.” Another key purpose in launching the portal is for the administration to drive innovation, by putting out “raw data in useable formats” so that the community of developers within the country is able to use it in novel ways. It will also serve the purpose of offering selected citizen services online.
The Prime Minister, speaking at the 4th Digital Agenda conference held on the 30th of November, stressed on the importance of ICT in enhancing connectivity among the citizens and also in enhancing relations between the citizen and the State, and that the launch of the portal would be a “direct expression of democracy”. He remarked that the age of the internet has asked new questions of the access provided to the general population to knowledge and information.
“The Arab Spring has clearly demonstrated the powerful role played by ICT in the emergence and the diffusion of popular movements. The digital age calls us to renew our democracies. Governance has to become more open, more responsive,” said Fillon.
Data.gov.fr will make open many of the expense and income details of the government and its local agencies, and will also detail environmental metrics such as the quality of air and water in the country as a means to reinforce transparency within the actions of the State.