Friday, June 10, 2016

The OPEN Government Data Act Would, Uh, Open Government Data; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 6/10/16

Elliot Harmon and Aaron Mackey, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); The OPEN Government Data Act Would, Uh, Open Government Data:
"The U.S. government has made huge strides in its open data practices over the last few years. Since it launched in 2009, has become a crucial source for everything from climate and agricultural data to Department of Education records. For the most part, this new era of data disclosure didn’t happen because Congress passed new laws; it happened through presidential orders and procedural improvements in the Executive Branch.
Unfortunately, it might be just as easy for future administrations to roll back the current open data program. That’s why EFF supports a bill that would mandate public access to government data and urges Congress to pass it.
Recently introduced in both the House and Senate, the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act (OPEN Data Act, S. 2852, H.R. 5051) would require all federal government agencies to automatically make public any data sets they produce, subject to narrow exceptions for national security or other reasons (more on those reasons in a minute).
It would also require that that data be shared in a machine-readable format—that is, a format that can be processed by a computer without a person having to manually tinker with each entry. In 2013, President Obama issued an executive order that government data be shared in machine-readable formats. The OPEN Government Data Act would lock that requirement into law and provide a stronger legal definition for machine-readable data.
EFF applauds the OPEN Data Act and hopes to see it pass. By turning the good practices that the Executive Branch has gradually adopted into law, the OPEN Data Act can help usher in a new era for U.S. data transparency."

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