Open data—data that is made freely available to use without restrictions—serves as a platform for innovation in the public and private sectors that supports $1.1 trillion in annual economic value, helps solve some of the country’s most pressing social challenges, and introduces unprecedented levels of transparency to government operations.
Congress has already taken some steps to unlock data held by the federal government with the bipartisan DATA Act, which required agencies to publish federal spending information in an open, standardized, and machine-readable format on the Internet. But lawmakers can do more to ensure that taxpayers fully reap the social and economic benefits of government data and put the United States on a path to remaining a world leader in this area for years to come.
Specifically, Congress should pass the bipartisan OPEN Government Data Act, a forthcoming bill that would make publishing open data an official responsibility of the federal government and codify the requirement that all government data is open by default.
Special guests Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Representative Blake Farenthold (R-TX), co-sponsors of the OPEN Government Data Act, will deliver opening remarks.