White House Issues Open Government Directive - InformationWeek

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12/8/2009
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White House Issues Open Government Directive

The Obama administration outlines steps that federal agencies must take to become more open, participatory, and collaborative, including release of "high value" data.

The Obama administration has released its Open Government Directive, a document that details steps federal agencies must take to become more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. As a first step, agencies must release three new "high value" data sets within 45 days.

The Open Government Directive was called for by President Obama in his "Transparency and Open Government" memo, issued in January on his first full day in office. At that time, Obama called on federal CTO Aneesh Chopra to work with the Office of Management and Budget and the administrator of General Services to outline actions agencies could take to implement the principles of open government.

The new strategy was outlined in a blog post by OMB director Peter Orszag, and the Open Government Directive and an open government progress report are available for download on WhiteHouse.gov.

The directive outlines a series of milestones that government agencies and departments are expected to meet over the next four months.

Within 45 days, each agency must publish at least three new, high-value data sets on Data.gov. It also calls for establishment of a federal working group on open government.

Within 60 days, each agency must create a Web page devoted to its open government activities. Federal CTO Chopra and federal CIO Vivek Kundra will create a dashboard to track agencies' plans and progresss.

Within 90 days, chief performance officer Jeffrey Zients will issue a framework that agencies can use for incentive-backed strategies such as "challenges" related to their open government efforts.

Within 120 days, agencies must publish their open government plans, outlining steps for improving transparency and for promoting public participation and collaboration. The administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, along with Chopra and Kundra, will review agencies' information policies and suggest modifications where necessary.

In a Webcast unveiling the Open Government Directive, federal CTO Chopra and federal CIO Kundra answered questions submitted via the Web and Twitter. They emphasized the need for data quality in information released as part of the directive and for protecting data that's secure in nature or with privacy or confidentiality implications.

Security experts advise government agencies and other organizations to take an end-to-end approach to securing their IT systems, one that includes suppliers and service providers. Download our report here (registration required).

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