Sunshine Week 2014 Wrap-Up
By Alida Moore
Last week was Sunshine Week 2014. Quite a few Socrata team members attended events related to Sunshine Week and worked hard to continue the conversation around open data and government transparency. In this blog post, Reid Serozi and Stuart Rabinowitz share their experiences from Sunshine Week 2014.
Sunshine Day 2014
Reid Serozi, DSA based in North Carolina, headed to Elon University on March 17th for Sunshine Day. The event featured a keynote speech from Waldo Jaquith, founder of the U.S. Open Data Institute. Jaquith spoke about what open data is and how it is being used today. To watch Jaquith’s speech, click here.
The event also included a few panels on open data. The first, Shining Light on the Legislature, can be viewed here. Panelists included Brent Laurenze, Executive Director of NC for Voter Education, John Clare, Executive Director of Reese News Lab UNC-Chapel Hill, and Laura Leslie, Capital Bureau Chief, WRAL News.
The second panel was Open Data in North Carolina. Panelists included Jason Hare, founder of NC Open Institute and Ryan Thornburg, founder of Open NC.
Data Transparency Coalition Breakfast
Stuart Rabinowitz, Socrata Director of Federal Markets, attended the Data Transparency Coalition breakfast. The event focused on “Commissioners from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).” More than 120 people attended the breakfast to learn more about the transformation of U.S. financial regulatory filings from disconnected documents into structured open data. Attendees included personnel from the private sector as well as experts from the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA), SEC, CFTC, and the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research.
The audience focused on how to promote the use of open data within the financial regulatory reporting arena, particularly to ensure transparency in financial market information and ensure the completeness of finical data. Key speakers included:
- Scott Bauguess, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Economic and Risk Analysis. Bauguess discussed the need for XBRL reporting.
- Matt Reed, who serves as chief counsel of the U.S. Treasury Office of Financial Research and chairs the global Regulatory Oversight Committee. Reed discussed the need and uses for financial data and financial data transparency.
- Commissioner Scott O’Malia – CFTC described his efforts to persuade colleagues at the CFTC to standardize the data the agency collects on swap derivatives under the Dodd-Frank financial reform.
- Srinivas Bangarbale – CFTC Chief Data Officer described his aspirations for progress on data standards at the agency.
- Jonathan Sokobin – FINRA Chief Economist discussed the need and use cases for open data (particularly in the investment community).
- Commissioner Mike Piwowar – SEC said his agency had made broad progress in adopting structured data formats in place of plain-text for the information it collects, notably the transformation of money market fund reporting from documents into structured XML data – but acknowledged that many SEC reports have yet to be modernized.
The need for open financial data is a great as it it ever was — the challenge is getting users of the data to push for it (e.g,, need to demonstrate how it is used).
Also, using structured data to describe financial health is critical since many of these reports are filed separately and are not linked together.
Finally, modernization into structured data is an ongoing process that ultimately requires the public and financial market participants to demand its implementation.
Did you attend any Sunshine Week events? Let us know in the comments and share your big takeaways. Let’s keep the conversation going.