Remember Data.gov? The President does, and he has issued an executive order that should give the information portal a shot in the arm. Starting this week, new and modernized Government information systems should use open and machine readable formats by default, adhering to the guidelines of a new Open Data Policy. The policy requires agencies to use open, machine readable formats that are non-proprietary, publicly available and unrestricted, and aims to put useful data in the hands of US companies while increasing privacy and security.

According to the White House blog, this means new data will be served in CSV, XML, JSON and other machine readable formats, and will even be accessible via API in some situations. The White House hopes the new policy will help foster innovation. "There are private companies using open data to fight credit card fraud; consumers using open data to save on their energy bills; families leveraging open data to compare health care options; and a host of new apps and tools in areas ranging from public safety, to financial planning, to education, and more," the blog explains. "We are very excited about the path ahead and can't wait to see what new ideas and yet to be imagined innovations can be unlocked by increased access to open data." Head past the break to read the executive order for yourself, and check out the source PDF for a peek at the new Open Data Policy.

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Executive Order -- Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information

EXECUTIVE ORDER

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MAKING OPEN AND MACHINE READABLE THE NEW DEFAULT
FOR GOVERNMENT INFORMATION

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. General Principles. Openness in government strengthens our democracy, promotes the delivery of efficient and effective services to the public, and contributes to economic growth. As one vital benefit of open government, making information resources easy to find, accessible, and usable can fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery that improves Americans' lives and contributes significantly to job creation.

Decades ago, the U.S. Government made both weather data and the Global Positioning System freely available. Since that time, American entrepreneurs and innovators have utilized these resources to create navigation systems, weather newscasts and warning systems, location-based applications, precision farming tools, and much more, improving Americans' lives in countless ways and leading to economic growth and job creation. In recent years, thousands of Government data resources across fields such as health and medicine, education, energy, public safety, global development, and finance have been posted in machine-readable form for free public use on Data.gov. Entrepreneurs and innovators have continued to develop a vast range of useful new products and businesses using these public information resources, creating good jobs in the process.

To promote continued job growth, Government efficiency, and the social good that can be gained from opening Government data to the public, the default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable. Government information shall be managed as an asset throughout its life cycle to promote interoperability and openness, and, wherever possible and legally permissible, to ensure that data are released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible, and usable. In making this the new default state, executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall ensure that they safeguard individual privacy, confidentiality, and national security.

Sec. 2. Open Data Policy. (a) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), shall issue an Open Data Policy to advance the
management of Government information as an asset, consistent with my memorandum of January 21, 2009 (Transparency and Open Government), OMB Memorandum M-10-06 (Open Government Directive), OMB and National Archives and Records Administration Memorandum M-12-18 (Managing Government Records Directive), the Office of Science and Technology Policy Memorandum of February 22, 2013 (Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research), and the CIO's strategy entitled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People." The Open Data Policy shall be updated as needed.

(b) Agencies shall implement the requirements of the Open Data Policy and shall adhere to the deadlines for specific actions specified therein. When implementing the Open Data Policy, agencies shall incorporate a full analysis of privacy, confidentiality, and security risks into each stage of the information lifecycle to identify information that should not be released. These review processes should be overseen by the senior agency official for privacy. It is vital that agencies not release information if doing so would violate any law or policy, or jeopardize privacy, confidentiality, or national security.

Sec. 3. Implementation of the Open Data Policy. To facilitate effective Government-wide implementation of the Open Data Policy, I direct the following:

(a) Within 30 days of the issuance of the Open Data Policy, the CIO and CTO shall publish an open online repository of tools and best practices to assist agencies in integrating the Open Data Policy into their operations in furtherance of their missions. The CIO and CTO shall regularly update this online repository as needed to ensure it remains a resource to facilitate the adoption of open data practices.

(b) Within 90 days of the issuance of the Open Data Policy, the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, Controller of the Office of Federal Financial Management, CIO, and Administrator of OIRA shall work with the Chief Acquisition Officers Council, Chief Financial Officers Council, Chief Information Officers Council, and Federal Records Council to identify and initiate implementation of measures to support the integration of the Open Data Policy requirements into Federal acquisition and grant-making processes. Such efforts may include developing sample requirements language, grant and contract language, and workforce tools for agency acquisition, grant, and information management and technology professionals.

(c) Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Chief Performance Officer (CPO) shall work with the President's Management Council to establish a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal to track implementation of the Open Data Policy. The CPO shall work with agencies to set incremental performance goals, ensuring they have metrics and milestones in place to monitor advancement toward the CAP Goal. Progress on these goals shall be analyzed and reviewed by agency leadership, pursuant to the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-352).

(d) Within 180 days of the date of this order, agencies shall report progress on the implementation of the CAP Goal to the CPO. Thereafter, agencies shall report progress quarterly, and as appropriate.

Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(d) Nothing in this order shall compel or authorize the disclosure of privileged information, law enforcement information, national security information, personal information, or information the disclosure of which is prohibited by law.

(e) Independent agencies are requested to adhere to this order.

BARACK OBAMA

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President Obama issues executive order to make government data open and machine readable