What’s wrong with APRA for profit?

Democrat Speaker of the House Joseph Shekarchi made an interesting statement in passing on a recent episode of WPRI’s Newsmakers.  The spectacle of the state’s top political official instructing a journalist about how to lobby is worth noting, but this is the particular comment I mean, immediately after the speaker referenced the Access to Public Records Act (APRA) being “abused”:

A lot of private companies use this APRA request to get information, repackage it, and sell it.

I’ve reached out to the House’s spokesman last week to for more specifics about what Shekarchi meant but have received no response.  He could mean sites like Anchor Rising that create data visualization tools to better inform the public, or he could mean something even more commercial and specific to certain industries.  In either case, I have to ask:  How is this abuse?

If there’s money to be made from public information, that’s evidence it has value, and if a private company is able to find information and present it in a way for which others are willing to pay, that simply means that more people are benefiting from the transparency.

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