Vote for Open Government Data

The title reads, “Barack Obama is going to appoint the nation’s first CTO. What are the top priorities?” I don’t know about you, but I’m putting in my vote for open government data. Who knows if anyone from Washington actually sees this (probably not), but can you imagine how fun it’d be to have APIs to data that defines the United States, or any country for that matter? Something more accessible than thousands of scattered Excel spreadsheets and PDF files? It’s good to hope, or as my friend Andy Dufresne would say, hope will set you free. Yeah, that makes absolutely no sense. This is what happens when I stay up all night long.

[via Boing Boing | Thanks, Georgina]


  • Well, I’d be really cautious about what they should put out there. The government already does a poor job removing SSNs from public documents, can you really trust them with assuring other personal data stays out of the feed or at least properly anonymized? I love the results that fall out of the aggregated data (a lot of what visualization is really all about) but care must be taken that someone’s personal data doesn’t get exposed as a data point unless they earn that notorious distinction. (aside: In the future, it won’t be called “getting your name in the papers”. Rather it will be “shouting your name in the feed”.)

  • Sure, API’s for data would be really nice. But net neutrality is a real threat that every country must defend.

    Here in Australia our government is trialing web filtering technology which they intend to make mandatory for all Internet users in Australia.

    There is no clear definition about what will and won’t be blocked by the filter. This means that legal material that the government feels is inappropriate for it’s citizens will be blocked.

    Best estimates expect this will slow our Internet down by approximately 30%.

    Please vote for net neutrality!!!


  • PS: Here’s some good information about the proposed Australian censorship filter.

    You can expect that if it goes ahead here, other countries will not be too far behind.

  • Oh yeah, vote for net neutrality too definitely. You get 10 votes and can only dedicate a maximum of three towards one topic, so put 3 in there for the nn