As the agency that most encourages American innovators and entrepreneurs to look to the future, the PTO should be leading the effort to transform government information from disconnected documents into open data.
It’s time for FOIA reform. The Sunlight Foundation is joined by 46 other public interest groups in making that call and celebrating the movement that’s already happened.
Some background: The House and Senate both passed FOIA reform last year. The Senate bill in particular was the product of months of negotiations, which pushed the process up until the last second. Despite some very real concessions – notably the loss of the public interest balancing test in the Senate version – some eleventh hour stalling tactics from agencies and, strangely, the banks they regulate, managed to stall the bill to death.
President Obama released his FY 2016 budget this week, and there’s good news on the open data front: the Administration continues to press for mandatory electronic filing of the Form 990, the primary tax form for nonprofits. The form is as a critical source of information on the mission, governance, programs and finances of US nonprofits.