US president issues open data order
US president Barack Obama is aiming to breathe new life into US information portal data.gov. Over the last two years, the portal appears to have faltered somewhat. Under an executive order issued by the White House on Thursday, data in new government and public sector IT systems will have to be stored in "open and machine readable" formats. The requirements also apply to data processing facilities which undergo modernisation or renovation, which will also be required to make information available via the US government's open data portal.
To date, data.gov has primarily been driven by information "donations" – in a wide variety of formats – from individual government agencies. The new stipulation should ensure that the portal receives a more continuous flow of data. Officials are obliged to filter out any personal or otherwise sensitive information along with information that they do not have permission to publish. The order also extends an order issued last year which decreed that government IT systems should be available to commercial app developers via an open interface. The Obama administration announced, and shortly thereafter published, initial guidelines on open government soon after taking office in 2009.
The White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is set to issue an Open Data Policy, which relevant government agencies will then have three months to implement. Independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be required to adhere to the same standards. The US Chief Information Officer (CIO), Steven VanRoekel, is required to publish an online repository of tools and practical examples for integrating open data standards into government IT systems within 30 days.
(Stefan Krempl / sno)