Open Government: Lessons from America

On leaving Consumers’ Association, Stewart Dresner made an independent trip to the USA and Canada researching the federal Freedom of Information Act 1967 and the federal Privacy Act 1974.

He conducted around 60 interviews with consumer advocates, politicians, lawyers and journalists in many cities across the US and in Canada.

He subsequently wrote Open Government: Lessons from America, published by the Outer Circle Policy Unit in May 1980. Its mission was to provide evidence on how successful information laws work in practice to support the campaigns for similar legislation in the United Kingdom.

Reviews, including in The Economist and The Guardian, amplified the message. Dedicated work by many people led ultimately to the UK’s Data Protection Act 1984 and the UK’s Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Read: Open Government: Lessons from America