Latest in Gear

Image credit: Shutterstock / Andrea Izzotti

Senate passes bill requiring easy access to public government data

So long as the government is willing to make the data available, that is.
237 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Shutterstock / Andrea Izzotti

Dreams of making government data easily accessible just came a little closer to reality. The US Senate has passed a defense authorization bill that includes the OPEN Government Data Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at making public data useful. The measure insists that any government agency info published on Data.gov must be made available in a "machine-readable" format (that is, your PC or phone knows what to do with it) and should be easily searched. To put it another way, the government can't just dump raw files and expect you to make sense of them.

The act also includes clauses designed to protect "privacy and national security," so it shouldn't include extremely sensitive data about you or any military secrets. And federal officials have to use this info (when relevant) for decision-making, giving them a vested interest in making the data useful.

A version of the defense bill has already cleared the House of Representatives without mention of the data act, so the next step is to send it to a Conference Committee to sort out differences. If the data portion sticks, it's likely to become law. The biggest challenge isn't so much opening government data to the public as it is getting the full story -- as we've already seen, the current administration isn't fond of data that contradicts its agenda.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
237 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
Skullcandy's Crusher ANC block noise while you feel the bass

Skullcandy's Crusher ANC block noise while you feel the bass

View
Zero's 2020 electric motorcycles include one that's loaded for adventures

Zero's 2020 electric motorcycles include one that's loaded for adventures

View
‘Call of Duty’ comes to mobile on October 1st

‘Call of Duty’ comes to mobile on October 1st

View
AT&T reportedly considers offloading its DirecTV satellite unit

AT&T reportedly considers offloading its DirecTV satellite unit

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr