One Important Policy Missing in Open Data

Open data is a huge step towards open government, but it isn’t so easy. There are problems with the decision making process in what becomes public information. John Wonderlich, Policy Director for the Sunlight Foundation spoke with Chris Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER about the missing link in the open data decision making process.

Decisions about what information is released are currently made usually at the department or program level. This is problematic because then the decisions are made in the best interest of the department, not in the public interest. A solution to this could be to make a centralized decision making system, maybe consisting of an index or audit of major information holdings to make sure decisions are made based on the public interest.

There are definitely issues like resource constraints in getting the information out there. With this plan, only public sharing would need to be added. Even a 20 page document with a chart would be a huge step forward in centralizing responsibility for information policy decisions. The easiest place to start may be to make Freedom of Information Act requests public. If this were the case, journalists may need an opt-out to keep their stories from leaking.

To listen to John’s full interview you can catch the full radio show at GovLoop Insights or your can subscribe to our itunes channel.

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Chris Cairns

How can I find out more about the type of “centralized decision making system” that would be proposed? Any specifics?