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Friday, June 26, 2009

U.S. Government CIO speaks about plans for Data.gov

Wired published a Q&A with Vivek Kundra, the U.S. government's first-ever chief information officer, in this month's issue. Kundra spoke about his plans for Data.gov and navigating privacy issues. Wired also has its own Wiki where people can report government data that is not accessible and can suggest how accessibility to government data could be improved.

The Obama administration's most radical idea may also be its geekiest: Make nearly every hidden government spreadsheet and buried statistic available online, all in one place. For anyone to see. Are you searching for a Food and Drug Administration report that used to be obtainable only through the Freedom of Information Act? Just a mouseclick away. Need National Institutes of Health studies and school testing scores? Click. Census data, nonclassified Defense Department specs, obscure Securities and Exchange Commission files, prison statistics? Click click. Click. Click.

The man in charge is the US government's first-ever chief information officer, Vivek Kundra. Previously CTO of the District of Columbia, Kundra, 34, knows that the move from airtight opacity to radical transparency won't be a cakewalk. Until now, the US government's default position has been: If you can't keep data secret, at least hide it on one of 24,000 federal Web sites, preferably in an incompatible or obsolete format.

More here.

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