Nick Sinai, Office of Science and Technology Policy deputy CTO, cited the report in a post on the White House blog on Tuesday, adding that the economic value of open data reinforces the importance of the Obama administration's initiatives to make government information more accessible to the public, companies and innovators. Open data is helping the federal government become more efficient and effective, while startups and corporations are using open government data to build new products and services, Sinai said in the blog.
More than 40 countries have established open-data programs in an effort to promote economic development and encourage innovation, McKinsey & Company's findings show. In the U.S., the Open Data Initiative has resulted in the creation of Data.gov, a website that makes it easier for the public to find, download and use datasets generated by the federal government. Since March 2009, Data.gov has expanded from 47 "open" data sets to more than 90,000.
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In a related development, the Open Data Institute has announced the creation of an international open data network that includes the U.S., Canada, Dubai, Moscow, Paris and Manchester. The network aims to bring together companies, universities, and non-governmental organizations that support open-data projects and communities. As part of this effort, the Knight Foundation is supplying $250,000 to a U.S. team that will work with U.K.-based Open Data Institute to replicate its model, which promotes open-data adoption. The Open Data Institute held its first annual summit in London this week.
"Data is a valuable national asset that should be open and available to the public, to entrepreneurs, to scientists, and others -- instead of being trapped in closed government systems," said Sinai. “The creation of organizations like the new U.S. Open Data Institute can help mobilize stakeholders to realize the full potential of open data."
Despite worldwide progress, a lot of work is yet to be done by governments, companies and citizens to create policies that protect privacy and intellectual property, according to McKinsey & Company. "Consumers have serious privacy concerns, and companies are reluctant to share proprietary information -- even when anonymity is assured -- for fear of losing competitive advantage," said the report. Investments in technology and expertise are needed in order for data to be used effectively, the report concluded.