In a new executive order and policy directive issued last week, the Obama Administration took steps to increase public access to government information by requiring federal agencies to make data publicly available in machine-readable formats, while appropriately safeguarding privacy, confidentiality, and security. The new policy gives agencies six months to create inventories of all the government-produced datasets they collect and maintain; a list of datasets that are publicly accessible; and an online system to collect feedback from the public as to how they would like to use the data. In turn, previously inaccessible federal data will be “more open and accessible to innovators and the public, to fuel entrepreneurship and economic growth while increasing government transparency and efficiency,” the White House said in its press release. The new policy builds on the earlier White House Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.
In the video below, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel explain the importance of the new open data policy in promoting transparency, innovation, and economic growth:
In addition to the release of the open data policy, the White House announced several “complementary actions” in its plan, including new services for developers with Project Open Data and updates to Data.gov. The Library of Congress’s digital preservation blog has a great roundup of the new policy’s guidance about active management of datasets and resources on dataset preservation.