Press Release

Data Coalition Endorses OPEN Government Data Act


Government-Wide Open Data Mandate Means Better Transparency, Data-Driven Management, Automated Compliance

The Data Coalition, which represents the growing open data industry, today applauded the introduction of the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act by Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX). The OPEN Government Data Act directs all federal agencies to publish their information as machine-readable data, using searchable formats. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) are expected to introduce the OPEN Government Data Act in the Senate shortly.

“When government information is expressed as open data, it can be republished for better transparency outside government, analyzed for better management within government, and automated for cheaper reporting to government,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Coalition. Our Coalition members’ technologies can do all those things, but only if the information is expressed as open data instead of disconnected documents.”

The Coalition successfully advocated for the passage of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) of 2014, the nation’s first open data law. The DATA Act requires the federal government to express spending information as open data. The Coalition is currently supporting the Financial Transparency Act (H.R. 2477), which would transform financial regulatory information into open data. The OPEN Government Data Act applies the same principles more broadly across all information the federal government collects and generates.

“Today, too much of the federal government’s vast landscape of valuable information isn’t open and machine-readable,” said Hollister. “For example, the government uses the proprietary DUNS Number to track recipients of grants and contracts. Since the DUNS Number is itself proprietary, owned by a private contractor, information about recipients isn’t open and cannot be freely used. The OPEN Government Data Act sets a presumption in favor of non-proprietary data formats that will fix this and many other problems.”

The Data Coalition co-hosted an announcement event with the Center for Data Innovation this morning in Washington. Hollister moderated a panel discussion featuring Kat Duffy, director of Sunlight Labs; Tim Day, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation; Jed Sundwall, head of open data at Amazon; and Joshua New, policy associate at the Center for Data Innovation.

About the Data Coalition

The Data Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, open data. Open data enhances accountability, improves government management, reduces compliance costs, and stimulates innovation. Representing a cross-section of the technology industry and implementers, the Coalition’s membership includes market leaders such as Workiva, RR Donnelley, Booz Allen Hamilton, and CGI Federal and growing start-ups such as idaciti and CBeyonData. For more information, visit datacoalition.org.

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