Proposed US Government OPEN Government Data Act


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Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act or the OPEN Government Data Act was introduced an the Senate and House

This bill requires government data assets made available by federal agencies (excluding the Government Accountability Office, the Federal Election Commission, and certain other government entities) to be published as machine-readable data. When not otherwise prohibited by law, the data must be available: (1) in an open format that does not impede use or reuse and that has standards maintained by a standards organization; and (2) under open licenses with a legal guarantee that the data be available at no cost to the public with no restrictions on copying, publication, distribution, transmittal, citing, or adaptation.

If published government data assets are not available under an open license, the data must be considered part of the worldwide public domain. Agencies may engage with outside organizations and citizens to leverage public data assets for innovation in public and private sectors.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must oversee the completeness and public availability of an enterprise data inventory that agencies must develop to account for any data assets that they create, collect, control, or maintain.

Agencies must: (1) make their enterprise data inventories available to the public on Data.gov, and (2) designate a point of contact to assist the public and respond to complaints about adherence to open data requirements. For privacy, security, confidentiality, or regulatory reasons, agencies may maintain a nonpublic portion of their inventories.

Commentary

  • The bill is important as would it enshrine the progress so far in law. All the changes so far have depended on executive orders and thus remain fragile: a new President could choose to reverse them if (s)he chose.
  • Would make US government data public domain globally – current situation is unclear

EFF has an excellent summary: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/06/open-government-data-act-would-uh-open-government-data