Obama Administration Backs New Open Data Policy

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By Kelly Burke for Intellectual Property Watch

US President Barack Obama yesterday signed an executive order that requires federal agencies to make data publicly open in machine-readable formats, while appropriately safeguarding privacy, confidentiality, and security.

The goal of the new order is to make “troves of previously inaccessible or unmanageable data more easily available to entrepreneurs, researchers and others,” the White House said in a press release.

Along with the order, a new open data policy [pdf] was released by released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The policy declares information a “valuable national resource” and instructs agencies “to collect or create information in a way that supports downstream information processing.” This includes using machine-readable data, adhering to data standards, and modernising information systems to maximise accessibility.

It was also announced that in the coming months, the US government data hub, data.gov, will launch new services such as improved visualisation, mapping tools and better context to help users understand the information, according to the White House press release.

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