This morning, the White House released a new executive order from President Barack Obama that makes “open and machine readable” the new default for the release of government information.
One big question is whether data that is currently being bought by big business and startups — or obtained under FOIA — is now identified and released. Business interest in government data is longstanding, from Bloomberg to Reuters to Lexis-Nexis. New players exist now, particularly Google, and I expect them to consume data as it becomes available and make it usable, useful and economically significant.
At a broader level, the new policy defines machine-readable as the default and instructs agencies to do data inventories. That may sounds simple, to a layman, but it’s a big deal, if the administration can drive implementation and make this more than another compliance exercise.
Open data is to the 21st century as the highway system was to the 20th. POTUS recognizes this with an executive order 1.usa.gov/147Avxo
— Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) May 9, 2013
We’ll see. John Wonderlich is right: this open data executive order is a step in the right direction and shows a path forward.
Later today, the President is going to talk about this order in Texas, elevating open data into the national discussion. I expect the conversation that results to be interesting. I’ll be speaking with the US CIO as well, so if you have questions, please let me know at @digiphile on Twitter or weigh in in the comments.