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Crowdsourcing challenge: Who started the open data initiative?

I was recently thinking about the diffusion process behind open data initiatives. Local and federal governments across the world are incorporating their versions of “free data.” This movement has even travelled up north, such as in the village I currently reside in; which released its first batch of data on November 2009. It seems all too coincidental that many levels of government adopted “free data” soon after the launch of Data.gov by the U.S. government in May 2009. Some questions that pop into my mind are:

1. When and where exactly did this open data movement originate from?
2. Are left-wing local/federal governments stronger supporters of this policy?

I invite the readers to share any insight they have regarding these (open?) questions.

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