On September 28th, the White House Open Data Innovation Summit hosted in Washington, D.C. highlighted the Obama Administration’s extensive work in opening U.S. government data with an emphasis on the future of open data. For those who may not know, open data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.
Open data is important to all parts of government, and as a Presidential Management Fellow with the Department of Energy, I enjoyed attending the White House Open Data Innovation Summit and learning about the work of the Obama Administration to make open data a reality for the United States federal government.
Leaders in open data, including the U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, and U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott, spent the summit encouraging the use of Federal open data across all sectors and all levels of government. To kick off the summit, there was a panel with the three most recent Chief Technology Officers, Megan Smith, Todd Park, and Aneesh Chopra. The three CTOs shared their experience of turning government data into open and accessible information.
A key theme of the summit was balancing open data efforts with privacy and security. Shaun Donovan, the director of the The White House Office of Management and Budget highlighted the role of open data in promoting innovation, but emphasized importance of privacy and security. These concerns were echoed by many others throughout the day. The Chief Data Officer for Government Services Administration, Kris Rowley, said that it was a good rule of thumb to secure data when necessary, and open whenever possible.
The summit featured speakers from a variety of different sectors with a breadth of experience. The speakers talked about open data in regards to healthcare, disease, science, energy, food services, and many others. It was a great experience to hear from such a diverse set of individuals who are passionate about open data and who are truly doing work that is making the world a better place. The Obama Administration has made many strides in making the government more transparent and in making open data a reality. I personally hope the next Administration will have similar attitudes and will build upon the successes of the Obama Administration when it comes to government transparency and open data.
If you missed the White House Open Data Summit and are interested in watching the webcast, click here.