Gavin Freeguard

Interim head of public policy
Open Data Institute

Power & Diplomacy: When Open Data and Realpolitik Collide

Open Data
Tuesday, February 7 • 1:00pm – 1:30pm GMT
St James, 4th Floor

gavin freeguard

Power & Diplomacy: When Open Data and Realpolitik Collide

The utopian promise of the Internet was to democratise knowledge and promote free and open culture. However, efforts by some actors have contributed to the emergence of closed spaces of data sharing and access, which has perpetuated many of the same power structures and concentrations that exist in the offline world.

In this session, the panel will consider how compatible the ideals of open data are within a world that is increasingly characterised by conflict, competition and growing scepticism towards further globalisation.

The panel will discuss the prospects for open data initiatives that are vulnerable to this challenging geopolitical context. Topics to be discussed include the resilience of data sharing to political interests and the weaponisation of data and its infrastructure.


Gavin Freeguard is a freelance consultant working on research, policy and advocacy around data, digital government and data visualization. As well as special adviser and interim head of policy at the ODI, he is an associate at the Institute for Government (where he was previously programme director and led the IfG’s work on open data and digital government), policy associate at Connected by Data, a member of the Public Digital network and has worked as a consultant for organisations including mySociety, the Ada Lovelace Institute and Full Fact. Before joining IfG, he was political adviser on culture, media and sport to Rt Hon Harriet Harman KC, and before that, senior editor at the Media Standards Trust and deputy director of the Orwell Prize.