Is The White House Trying To Blow Up An Open Data Bill?

Andrea Peterson | Washington Post | January 29, 2014

The case for open data is pretty straightforward: Citizens deserve access to the information created with their tax dollars. Publishing that data in a format that's easy to search, sort and download could unleash a wave of innovation. If the private sector had access to government data it could find new ways to leverage it -- creating new services for consumers and new jobs. Right now, we're a long way from that ideal.

The White House has previously expressed support for open data -- even issuing an executive order and open data policy requiring that data generated by the government in the future be made available in open, machine-readable formats. But a group of for-profit and nonprofit organizations called the Data Transparency Coalition says a leaked Office of Management and Budget version of their biggest legislation initiative, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act or DATA Act, shows the administration trying to water down the legislation.

The DATA Act aims to standardize and publish a wide variety of U.S. government reports and data related to financial management, assistance and procurement. A version of the bill passed the House unanimously in 2012 and again on a vote of 388 to 1 in November 2013. But the bill did not make it to the floor in the Senate. [...]