Open Data: The Latest Step toward Federal Government Transparency

Another chapter of the open government initiative has been written as the White House announced the implementation of the newly minted Open Data Policy earlier this month. Designed to incorporate all forms of information, the policy dictates a new standard for maintaining data. The standard requires all data be “open and machine-readable.” By forcing all data to be maintained in open, machine readable formats, the federal government hopes to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase public access to the information, thereby upholding the ideals of the open government movement.

While on the surface this movement appears to be simply for opening access to more information, many hope the benefits will spur the government’s other big movement of encouraging economic growth. Supporters of the movement see public accessible information as a means of encouraging innovation. They explain that information that is more easily accessible and available to the public will encourage the creation of a range of tools and systems.

As the policy goes through implementation, it is certain that the government will be looking for means to manage all this data as well as portals from which to access the data. What steps do you think should be taken to ensure proper implementation?

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