Open government community reacts to White House policy

The release of the White House open data policy was met with widespread acclaim by open government advocates. Here is what they had to say about it:

Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition:

“The value of open data goes far beyond public transparency. This executive order and accompanying open data policy will cut compliance costs by allowing the tech industry to automate reporting and compliance processes that are currently manual. Spending and programs will become more efficient because big-data analytics, the most effective means of identifying waste and fraud, can be deployed once data standards are imposed. Even our capital markets will benefit because public regulatory filings converted into open data will become a more accessible source of actionable information for investors. Standards like those required by the open data policy will connect big government to big data.”

Open data also opens tremendous opportunities for the tech industry. Entrepreneurs and innovators will build the new automations, analytics, and delivery systems and build their businesses in the process. We commend President Obama for directing the government to pursue open data throughout all its systems. The road will be long, but this policy is a giant step.

TechAmerica’s Senior Vice President of Federal Government Affairs Kevin Richards:


“Access to the monumental amount of government data will fuel untold numbers of new innovative ideas in this country. By making open data the default policy of the entire federal government instead of discretionary, President Obama has handed the U.S. technology industry a key to expand our global leadership in this era of big data. This is exactly the step forward that our Big Data Commission recommended in their report, ‘Demystifying Big Data: A Practical Guide to Transforming the Business of Government.’

This policy also will help the federal government tackle its own challenges without having to grow the federal workforce. As referenced by CTO Todd Park at our CIO event last week, ‘you somehow can get all the other smart people to care about what you care about, working on what you’re working on, you’ll get a lot more done than only working with your own smart people,’ this executive order and policy shift facilitate growing the number of people thinking about government big data.”

John Wonderlich, policy director at the Sunlight Foundation:

“Today’s executive order demonstrates a new approach to open data, moving beyond rhetoric and aspiration, requiring agencies to publicly report on what data can be made public, building a new backbone for federal open data policy, and setting an example for other governments to follow. We’re thrilled that the president (and some very dedicated staff) have been listening, and are aggressively pursuing a strong vision for what open data should mean. Changing the default to open takes more than political commitments and enthusiastic rhetoric, and today’s new policies mark a new aggressive move to pursue that idea.”

Mike Reich, CEO and founder of Seabourne:

“We couldn’t be more excited about the release – it’s further evidence that the open data movement in government has fuel in the tank, and this bold document is a great step toward realizing the full potential of a tech-enabled government. Meeting the challenges of the open data policy will take time and up-front investment. Seabourne is looking forward to this next phase in the open data movement, and we’ll continue providing our thoughts on how progress can be achieved as part of this growing community of practice.”


Ben Balter, GitHubber and former presidential innovation fellow:

“We are humbled to see that the White House drafted and released the official open data policy of the United States on GitHub! The presidential memorandum calls for the creation of the aptly named Project Open Data, with the goal of making government data ‘available, discoverable, and usable – in a word, open.’ Today’s news marks the first time a government entity has published law as a living, collaborative document. We’re excited to see how the open data policy evolves with the input of the community, and we hope this is just the first of many.”

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