President Obama signed an executive order for the USA yesterday ordering that "going forward, newly generated government data shall be made freely available in open, machine-readable formats, while appropriately safeguarding privacy, confidentiality, and security. This requirement will help the Federal government achieve the goal of making troves of previously inaccessible or unmanageable data easily available to entrepreneurs, innovators, researchers, and others who can use those data to generate new products and services, build businesses, and create jobs."
It's not just the USA, the G8 have just published their Open Data Charter where they state things like:
We recognise that free access to, and subsequent re-use of, open data are of significant value to society and the economy.
We live in exciting times :)
Now all we need is some more users for Open Data SE …