The OPEN Government Data Act means that all public data made available by the US government must be in a format accessible by smartphones, tablets and computers …
The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act prevents the government responding to things like freedom of information requests with massive data dumps in proprietary formats. Instead, data must be readable using everyday electronic devices.
The Center for Data Innovation welcomed the news.
The OPEN Government Data Act is a major bipartisan victory for open data. It is now the law of the land that government data should be freely available and accessible to everyone by default.
Open data has enormous value for businesses, journalists, academics, civil society groups, and even other government agencies. These organizations use the vast supply of data the federal government makes freely available in open formats online to develop innovative products and services, make important business decisions, conduct research, and ensure accountability and oversight in government.
The Center for Data Innovation has long called for comprehensive federal legislation to define the publication of open data as a permanent responsibility of the U.S. government. The OPEN Government Data Act will ensure that the federal government releases valuable data sets, follows best practices in data management, and commits to making data available to the public in a non-proprietary and electronic format.
The non-partisan think-tank, which describes itself as ‘studying the intersection of data, technology and public policy,’ says that the law is a major achievement which establishes the USA as a global leader in open data.
Engadget reports that the business association Data Coalition also welcomed the move.
The government-wide law will transform the way the government collects, publishes, and uses non-sensitive public information. [It] sets a presumption that all government information should be open data by default: machine-readable and freely-reusable.
The OPEN Government Data Act had bi-partisan support in the Senate and Congress.