WASHINGTON—The Center for Data Innovation, a data policy think tank, and almost 50 other civil society organizations, businesses, industry groups, and transparency advocates today urged congressional action on the bipartisan Open, Permanent, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (H.R. 5051 / S. 2852), introduced last week by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). In letters sent to the leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, the organizations wrote:
In recent years, open data—data that is made freely available to use without restrictions—has proven to be an enormously effective platform for innovation in both the public and private sectors, supporting significant economic value, increasing transparency, efficiency, and accountability in government operations, and powering new tools and services that address some of the country’s most pressing economic and social challenges.
We support the OPEN Government Data Act for several reasons. First and foremost, this legislation would institutionalize the federal government’s commitment to open data and allow the United States to remain a world leader on open data. Second, adopting a policy of open by default for government data would ensure that the value of this public resource would continue to grow as the government unlocks and creates new data sets. Third, a firm commitment to providing open data as a public resource would encourage businesses, non-profits, and others to invest in innovative tools that make use of government data.
Given the many benefits of this legislation, as well as the broad industry and public support for open data, we respectfully ask Congress to take quick action on this bill.