Government // Open Government
News
5/12/2014
09:30 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail

Obama Signs Nation's First 'Open Data' Law

DATA Act requires agencies to publish government spending information in standardized machine-readable open data.

 President Obama signing legislation. (White House Photo by Pete Souza taken in 2011.)
President Obama signing legislation. (White House Photo by Pete Souza taken in 2011.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Whoopty
50%
50%
Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
5/13/2014 | 6:33:10 AM
Re: Opaque Transparency
I wouldn't be surprised if this is what comes about either. Business as usual in many ways - as Obama as shown he likes to put a good spin on things instead of enacting real "change," but we'll see. Give it a year or so and maybe something useful will come of it. 
WKash
50%
50%
WKash,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 5:24:14 PM
Re: Opaque Transparency
The DOD still can't produce an auditable set of financials, so it's anyone's guess what it will and won't produce. 
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 3:41:13 PM
Opaque Transparency
>The updated version of the bill also limits the reporting of sensitive information that is protected from Freedom of Information Act requests. Another layer of protection from public scrutiny. What this simply means in plain English is business as usual at the DoD.

I fully expect every interesting data point to be redacted.
WKash
50%
50%
WKash,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 3:37:06 PM
Re: Sounds Like XBRL For Federal Govt
Thanks, Doug, for clarifying the point about XBRL as a model, not necessarily the standard govt. might use. 
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 2:22:08 PM
Re: Sounds Like XBRL For Federal Govt
I was suggesting something XBRL like, but not necessarily XBRL. That's for X"BusinessReporting"L, but government will demand its own format since it's not about profit and loss.
WKash
50%
50%
WKash,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 2:08:27 PM
Re: Sounds Like XBRL For Federal Govt
Doug, I agree, XBRL would be a smart way to go.  The challenge, as one Treasury commissioner told me this week, is that agencies have been machine/system centric, not data centric.  The DATA Act forces them:

1. To follow the lead of OMB and Treasury in reporting financial data;

2. Begin working toward agreed-upon financial reporting data standards;

3. Be responsive to collaborative input, from users in and outside of govt.

The challenge remains: Agencies have received no funding to accomplish this mandate. That means much of the executiion awaits system upgrades.  But enforcing a default mindset to make data transparent is an important start.

 
asksqn
100%
0%
asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
5/12/2014 | 1:20:00 PM
Meanwhile at the Dod
The DATA Act seems like it will shed light on where the money goes except that the Defense Department was given the option to extend implementation of the bill's requirements to enable better protection of data from damaging disclosure AKA public scrutiny. The updated version of the bill also limits the reporting of sensitive information that is protected from Freedom of Information Act requests. Another layer of protection from public scrutiny. What this simply means in plain English is business as usual at the DoD.
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 1:03:47 PM
Sounds Like XBRL For Federal Govt
Global stock exchanges have embraced XBRL as a standardized format, and they're requiring public companies to report in this format so financial analysts and investors can quickly make sense of results. This sounds like a governmenal version of this standardized reporting approach, which is friendly to pre-defined, machine-to-machine financial analysis. Bottom line: we can look forward to faster turn-around on budget analyses, but I'm guessing it won't bring an end to the twisting of numbers that partisan party politics bring to their respective analyses.
David F. Carr
50%
50%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 12:50:29 PM
How long for feds to follow through on Open Data policy?
How long should we expect this to take to implement? Will it be months or years before they settle on the standard format for publishing government spending data, or should we expect to see results relatively quickly? I'd think they ought to be able to adapt XML formats used for financial reporting in the private sector - am I wrong?
RobPreston
100%
0%
RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
5/12/2014 | 12:25:48 PM
Open Federal Spending Data
Here's hoping the fields for the federal spending data accommodate more than 14 digits, lest the program run into a Year-2000-like problem in the not-too-distant future.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 18, 2014
Enterprise social network success starts and ends with integration. Here's how to finally make collaboration click.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
The weekly wrap-up of the top stories from InformationWeek.com this week.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.