Civic Awesome: Open Data in the News for April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014 8:56 am PST | Data as a Service, Effective Governing

The impact of open data continues to grow. From new legislation to helpful civic apps, we’re excited to see the community around open data getting stronger every day.

To help you keep up with all of the good news, we’ll collect the top open data stories from around the Web on this blog each week. Make sure to watch this space for updates and share what you find with the people in your network.

The DATA Act Passes

In what is easily the biggest and most important news story of the week, the DATA Act has passed the Senate. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act is set to open all the government’s spending information. This is a huge step forward for transparent government and will go a long way to demystify government finances for citizens.”The DATA Act takes a structured data model that has delivered unprecedented accountability in stimulus expenditures and applies it across all domains of federal spending,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition and author of the initial version of the DATA Act. 


Boston and Cambridge Move More Toward Open Data

The Boston City Council considers an ordinance that would require all city agencies and departments to make data available online. The ordinance also pushes for open data standards. “This executive order really signals a cultural shift in city government to placing a high premium on the use of data for smarter and better decisions,” says Justin Holmes, interim Boston CIO. In a bold move that shows the commitment to transparency and collaboration, the City of Boston has created a public Google doc that details the open data policy proposal. Citizens can leave comments directly in the document

Feds Seek to Expand Open Data

In more news from the federal sector, five cabinet-level federal departments are looking to expand their agencies’ open data market opportunities. By participating in open data roundtables, these department leaders will confer with some of the biggest leaders in open data to learn how they can expand upon and improve services to citizens with the use of open data and civic innovation. Departments pledging participation include the Departments of Commerce, Labor, and the USDA. 

Maryland Signs Open Data Policy Into Law

On April 9th, the state of Maryland signed their open data policy into law. This action will go a long way toward improving Maryland’s standing as a state that provides public access to information, for which the State was ranked 46th in 2013. The legislation includes a provision for the formation of a Council on Open Data, a 37-member group that will act as the State’s open data evangelists, ensuring that data is “machine-readable and released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible and usable, including through the use of open data portals.” 

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