WASHINGTON–The Center for Data Innovation today welcomed the reintroduction of the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act by Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) and Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Ben Sasse (R-NE). The Center issued the following statement from Director Daniel Castro:
The U.S. government maintains an enormous supply of valuable data that has been paid for by taxpayers. Making these datasets freely available to the public would unlock innovation in both the public and private sectors—spurring economic growth, increasing government transparency, and powering new tools and services to address some of the country’s most pressing economic and social challenges. The OPEN Government Data Act would ensure that government data continues to be open and available for anyone who wants to work with it, guaranteeing that the federal government releases valuable data sets, follows best practices, and commits to openness by default.
The OPEN Government Data Act passed the Senate unanimously last year and would have no impact on the budget according to the Congressional Budget Office. Swift passage of this bipartisan legislation would send a clear signal that when it comes to open data, the United States is finally open for business. This would be a welcome message to developers and investors looking to build apps or services that make use of government data. In addition, this kind of innovation-focused policy aligns with the goals of the newly announced White House Office of American Innovation.
The Center for Data Innovation was the first organization to call attention to the need for comprehensive federal legislation to secure the future of open data in the U.S. government.