Organizations, business, tech leaders urge Congress to pass OPEN Government Data Act

The OPEN Government Data Act would increase transparency and accountability, a group of tech leaders and advocates told Congressional leaders.
The OPEN Government Data Act would increase transparency and accountability, a group of tech leaders and advocates told Congressional leaders.

A group of nearly 50 organizations and businesses urged leaders in the House and Senate to take swift action on the Open, Permanent, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (H.R. 5051 / S. 2582) introduced last week.

In letters sent to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and ranking member, Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), the group said that “open data…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.”

The OPEN Government Data Act would not only “institutionalize the federal government's commitment to open data” and keep the U.S. “a world leader,” it would also “ensure that the value” of what would be a “public resource would continue to grow as the government unlocks and creates new data sets.”

The signatories, which include Amazon Web Services, Electronic Frontier Foundation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation and Splunk, Inc., also contended that “ open data as a public resource would encourage businesses, non-profits, and others to invest in innovative tools that make use of government data.”

The bill, they wrote, has vast private and public sector support, which should help persuade Congress to “take swift action.”

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