Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Friday, August 07, 2009

Aging Silos and Open Data

A new job often means big plans. So it is for the new Federal CTO, Aneesh Chopra. He's saying all the right things, but can he make all the right moves?

In his visit to Silicon Valley yesterday, Chopra called for the elimination of technology silos that litter the government landscape.

Good idea.

Focusing on IT, however, is less impactful than focusing on information. Tearing down data silos is more important -- for the public, the economy and improved government services.

The new federal IT dashboard showing tech spending by federal agencies is a nice start. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) moved in a similar direction when it required all federal agencies to use the same open, standardized formats for financial reporting so spending under the Recovery Act can be displayed on Shining a light on how government spends our money is helpful.

But more must be done. Windows of transparency are nice. Access to actual data is better.

Government needs to open source its information, research and investment. Perhaps our new federal CTO and CIO should commit to opening up access to a different set of government data every week. The public can help. Create an online forum where people can suggest (and vote for) what information they want made publicly available.

Call it democratizing data. Or open sourcing data. Either way, there is a powerful magnifier effect to increasing public access to government data that will drive innovation and real economic opportunity, not to mention government transparency.

That is creative silo destruction we can believe in.

Mr. Obama, tear down these silos!

Categories: government, OpenStandards, innovation

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