April 16, 2012 – A new federal data transparency coalition is pushing for standardization of government documents and support for legislation on public records disclosures, taxpayer spending and business identification codes.
The Data Transparency Coalition announced its official launch Monday, vowing nonpartisan work with Congress and the Executive Branch on ventures toward digital publishing of government documents in a standardized and integrated formats. As part of that effort, the coalition expressed its support of legislative proposals such as: the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, which would open public spending records published on a single digital format; the Public Information Online Act, which pushes for all records to be released digitally in a machine-readable format; and the Legal Entity Identifier proposal, creating a standard ID code for companies.
The 14 founding members include vendors Microsoft, Teradata, MarkLogic, Rivet Software, Level One Technologies and Synteractive, as well as the Maryland Association of CPAs, financial advisory BrightScope, and data mining and pattern discovery consultancy Elder Research. The coalition board of advisors includes former U.S. Deputy CTO Beth Noveck, data and information services investment firm partner Eric Gillespie and former Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board Chairman Earl E. Devaney.
Data Transparency Coalition Executive Director Hudson Hollister, a former counsel for the House of Representatives and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, noted that when the federal government does electronically publish public documents it “often fails to adopt consistent machine-readable identifiers or uniform markup languages.”
“Without data standardization, citizens, members of the media, watchdog groups, and even the federal agencies themselves have no means of searching the information to identify spending patterns or waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Hollister in a news release.
Outside of coding and markup language included in some of the legislation, the group did not push for particular standardization formats on its website or introductory announcement.
Data transparency and disclosure have been central to plans under Obama Administration CIO Steven VanRoekel, including the White House Open Government Initiative, on which Data Transparency Coalition advisor Noveck had worked.
Click here for an introductory video on the group.
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