WASHINGTON, April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of technology companies and public interests today launched the Data Transparency Coalition to advocate for the standardization of federal data published online. The Data Transparency Coalition is the only group union unifying the technology industry in support of federal data reform. The coalition will support the bipartisan Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) and other efforts to make federal data easily searchable and downloadable.
Members of the Data Transparency Coalition include Microsoft, Teradata, and other industry leaders. Tech policy veterans—such as Earl Devaney, former chair of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, and Beth Noveck, former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer—will serve on its board of advisors. The Data Transparency Coalition is working with Congress and the executive branch on initiatives to publish federal information—including spending data, regulatory filings, legislative information and other data—in machine-readable formats. The coalition will also take the lead in explaining the benefits of federal data transparency on Capitol Hill and to the public.
"The Data Transparency Coalition is advocating for common sense initiatives that encourage the productivity and transparency necessary for government reform," said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition. "Too often, the federal government doesn't publish crucial spending details, regulatory filings, corporate disclosures or legislative actions online. Even when such data is electronically published, the government 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," continued Hollister. "Americans need their government to be open and accessible, and we need an industry initiative to make it happen."
The Data Transparency Coalition supports a range of existing congressional and regulatory proposals—including the following:
- DATA Act: Introduced last year by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the DATA Act will open federal spending information to the public by establishing a single public platform for reports by grantees, contractors, and agencies. The bill also mandates the consistent use of government-wide identifier codes and markup languages, such as XBRL, to make the data easily searchable.
- Public Online Information Act (POIA): Introduced last year by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), POIA will establish a government-wide mandate that when any federal law or regulation requires information to be made public, that information should be published online in a machine-readable fashion.
- Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) Proposal: The Office of Financial Research (OFR) of the Department of the Treasury has proposed a standard identification code number for companies. The code would be used by all financial regulatory agencies across different markets and jurisdictions.
- Financial Industry Transparency Act: Originally proposed as amendments to the Dodd-Frank Act, and later introduced by Rep. Issa (R-CA) and cosponsored by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Spencer Bachus (R-AL), the bill will require the adoption of consistent markup languages, such as XBRL, by financial regulators for the information reported to them.
"I know from my experience tracking stimulus spending that legislation like the DATA Act is the only way to achieve true transparency and accountability in Washington," said Earl Devaney. "I look forward to working with the Data Transparency Coalition to advance the DATA Act and other efforts to open federal spending to the public."
Ellen Miller, Executive Director of the Sunlight Foundation, applauded the formation of the Data Transparency Coalition. "For years, the Sunlight Foundation has pointed to the need for the federal government to innovate the way it publishes public information," said Miller. "There is no way to ensure that federal data is accurate without consistent government-wide IDs and machine-readable, non-proprietary formats such as XML and XBRL. We are pleased to see the private sector joining together to support data transparency."
About the Data Transparency Coalition
The Data Transparency Coalition is a non-partisan trade association of technology companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals supporting the publication of government data online in consistent machine-readable formats. The DTC is steered by a board of advisors. For more information, visit http://datacoalition.org/.
SOURCE Data Transparency Coalition