Congress passes ‘Open Government Data Act’ to make open data part of the US Code

Melisha Dsouza at Packt>: “22nd December marked a win for U.S. government in terms of efficiency, accountability, and transparency of open data. Following the Senate vote held on 19th December, Congress passed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking (FEBP) Act (H.R. 4174, S. 2046). Title II of this package is the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, which requires all non-sensitive government data to be made available in open and machine-readable formats by default.

The federal government possesses a huge amount of public data which should ideally be used to improve government services and promote private sector innovation. The open data proposal will mandate that federal agencies publish their information online, using machine-readable data formats.

Here are some of the key points that the Open Government Data Act seeks to do:

  • Define open data without locking in yesterday’s technology.
  • Create minimal standards for making federal government data available to the public.
  • Require the federal government to use open data for better decision making.
  • Ensure accountability by requiring regular oversight.
  • Establish and formalize Chief Data Officers (CDO) at federal agencies with data governance and implementation responsibilities.
  • Agencies need to maintain and publish a comprehensive data inventory of all data assets to help open data advocates identify key government information resources and transform them from documents and siloed databases into open data….(More)”.

For a more extensive discussion see: Congress votes to make open government data the default in the United States by Alex Howard.