Policy Agenda

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As America’s premier voice on data policy, the Data Coalition promotes policies that enable government data to be high-quality, accessible, and usable. The Data Coalition’s policy priorities fall into six core categories: data sharing, evidence-based decision-making, government spending, innovation and emerging technology, market and regulatory technology data, and open data. Each of these policy priorities is pursued through a multi-pronged approach that includes support for relevant legislation, regulations, policy guidance, funding, technical assistance, oversight, and strategic planning in Congress and the Executive Branch. In 2020, the approach also includes development of the comprehensive Federal Data Strategy and planning for the 2021 Executive Branch agenda. 

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Data Sharing

Fostering Responsible Data Sharing

Federal agencies are increasingly sharing data collected from programs, surveys, or other activities with each other to generate better insights and to minimize data collection burden on the American public. Sharing such valuable information can fuel more useful, actionable insights, bolster decision-making, and elevate the value of data as an asset. The more agencies share information, the more they must regard privacy protections to guard sensitive data.

The Data Coalition supports collaboration between government, industry, non-profits, and academia to ensure government data are accessible and useful for the American public. Data sharing priorities in 2020 include:

  • Support for the Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building and planning for enhanced data sharing capabilities for the federal government
  • Improved access to government data, including historically restricted data where use restrictions can be examined or revisited, such as income and earnings data

Evidence-Based Decision-Making

Enabling Evidence-Based Policymaking

The U.S. government collects troves of data that can and should be analyzed to inform government policymaking. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (Evidence Act) presents major government-wide reforms for making data more accessible and useful for decision-making. At the heart of the Evidence Act is the goal of increasing the availability of federal data to build evidence about government programs and policies. The law does this while maintaining strict privacy protections so that personally identifiable information is safeguarded. 

The Data Coalition is committed to ensuring the Evidence Act is successfully implemented and seeing more evidence-informed and data-driven decision-making throughout government. 2020 Evidence-Based Decision-Making priorities include:

  • Implementation and oversight of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, including relevant government-wide guidance and establishment of new agency chief data officers, evaluation officers, and statistical officials in agencies
  • Processes in government that enable improved data quality and access without inhibiting use
  • Development of agency learning agendas with key data collection, management, and evaluation attributes
  • Promotion of effective agency evaluation policies 
  • Completion of an accurate count in the 2020 census

Government Spending

Encouraging Transparency for Government Spending

Open and transparent data about how agencies allocate resources is a pillar that supports an accountable government. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) of 2014 requires public reporting about how funds are allocated for grants, contracts, and programs, providing a more comprehensive picture of how taxpayers’ funds are used to achieve agencies’  missions. The Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act (GREAT Act) of 2019 modernizes reporting to apply data standards for grantees. 

The Data Coalition prioritizes effective implementation of the DATA Act and GREAT Act. The Coalition continues to work towards integrating data-driven processes into government management and connecting federal spending data to programmatic outcomes. In 2020, priorities related to government spending information include:

  • Implementation and oversight of the GREAT Act to improve transparency and reduce burden
  • Implementation and oversight of the DATA Act, including potential enhancements and application of lessons learned to other federal policies
  • Greater access to government budget proposals

Innovation and Tech

Promoting Innovation and Emerging Tech

Innovations and emerging technologies are becoming more ubiquitous, and federal policymakers are beginning to consider how to deploy technologies to effectively leverage the government’s data assets. In concert with a data-oriented government workforce, emerging technological applications like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and multi-party computation can increase workforce efficiency and reduce administrative burden. 

The Data Coalition supports policies that encourage responsible, ethical deployment of innovative and emerging technologies that foster rigorous data analysis for better decision-making, while facilitating equitable data use and appropriate privacy protections. 2020 priorities include:

  • Responsible policies that enable adoption of AI in federal agencies 
  • Confidentiality and privacy policies that support innovation and new technology
  • Reasonable applications of differential privacy and development of synthetic data for sensitive data

Market and RegTech

Incentivizing Improved Market and RegTech Data

Market and RegTech data reflect information collected and used in the financial regulatory system. Data are gathered through regulatory reporting and involves the application of emerging technology, supported by the use of open data standards. Proposals to modernize the financial regulatory reporting system to require standardized, machine-readable data will foster an environment for emerging technologies and applications. This will improve efficiency within the financial sector and regulatory reporting. RegTech applications can republish, analyze, and automate reporting processes providing deeper insight, cut costs, and enhance fraud prevention. Government and industry must work together to standardize, share, and use high-quality regulatory data. 

The Data Coalition advocates for policies to modernize the financial regulatory system’s reporting requirements, facilitating cooperation between regulators and regulated industries. 2020 priorities include:

  • Modernized financial reporting to reduce burden and strengthen transparency, including the use of a non-proprietary entity identifier
  • Design of a standard business reporting framework 
  • Financial and regulatory reporting through structured data taxonomies

Open Data

Strengthening Open Data Capabilities

Open data refers to information that is freely shared and publicly available. In society, there are constant informational demands and needs for more open data, such as bolstering public accountability and transparency of government. While open data is now the legal default for federal government agencies to publish information, much work remains for the federal government to realize the vision and benefits of open government data.

The Data Coalition advocates for policies that enable government to produce accessible, high-quality, and useful data, including open data when possible. In 2020, priorities include:

  • Implementation and oversight of the OPEN Government Data Act
  • Adoption of common and non-proprietary legal entity identifiers 
  • Development of a rational tiered access approach for government data 
  • Application of open data capabilities in the Judicial Branch
  • Improved capabilities for open data in Congress and Legislative Branch modernization