WASHINGTON—The Center for Data Innovation and 82 other civil society organizations, businesses, transparency advocates, and industry groups today urged congressional action on the bipartisan Open, Permanent, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (H.R. 1770 / S. 760), introduced last week by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE).
Signers include leading technology companies, such as Amazon Web Services, IBM, and Oracle; influential advocacy groups, such as the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Sunlight Foundation; and major trade associations, such as the Consumer Technology Association, Internet Association, and the Software & Information Industry Association.
The letter, sent to the leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says:
This bill, which unanimously passed the Senate in 2016, would establish a comprehensive policy across the federal government to ensure that government data is accessible to the public by default.
In recent years, open data—data that is made freely available to use without restrictions—has proven to be an enormously effective platform for innovation in both the public and private sectors, supporting significant economic value, increasing transparency, efficiency, and accountability in government operations, and powering new tools and services that address some of the country’s most pressing economic and social challenges.
Given the many benefits of this legislation, as well as the broad industry and public support for open data, we respectfully ask this Congress to take quick and decisive action on this bill.
The Center released following statement from Director Daniel Castro on the legislation:
The U.S. government maintains an enormous supply of valuable data that has been paid for by taxpayers. 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. The broad base of supporters for this legislation—from leading tech companies to influential advocacy groups and trade associations—should send a strong message to Congress that there is an appetite for swift action on this bill.