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

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

FCC is Catching Up

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is working on the first national broadband plan for the U.S.

Better late than never.

During yesterday's stop on the FCC Summer Tour, its new chairman, Julius Genachowski, referred to broadband as this generation's highway system. They are ambitious words ... if not original.

The same exact point was made here over 3 years ago. Again, better late than never.

There is a major difference between our broadband highway and the asphalt highways built in the 1950s to connect America. Broadband is much more important to America's future.

Broadband does not to just connect our cities; it connects our lives. Broadband reaches into every house, every business, every hospital, every school and will power endless innovations that will re-shape our lives.

And a policy of net neutrality is vital for keeping these digital roads flat and fast-moving for everyone. Without it, broadband will turn into an endless series of toll roads on which those people and companies who buy the Easy Pass move fast while the rest crawl along in the right lane.

There won't be any Cash for Clunkers program if that happens.

Categories: netneutrality, broadband, FCC