Monday, June 14, 2010

Who Owns Public Crime Data?

"We were recently tipped off to a case in the federal courts that raises all sorts of legal issues about some questionable interpretations of the law -- many of which we've discussed here recently. It involves a Utah company, named Public Engines, suing a competitor, named Report See. Public Engines, it appears, contracts with various police departments around the country to get crime data from them, and then they put that data online in various formats. Its main business tends to be working with law enforcement and providing them software and services around that data. But, it also presents the data publicly on the site Apparently, law enforcement agencies pay Public Engines to provide data to the site. Public Engines claims it does work on that data, to "de-identify" it and make it appear in a more user-friendly format. As the company notes, it does not add any editorial on the site and does not include any advertising or seek any additional business from users. The service is basically provided totally free of all that -- but the company makes money from the law enforcement agencies, who pay to take part and to use Public Engines' software. "

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Location Oakland, Ca - Private Investigator