Saturday, March 3, 2012
More city data to become public
From Gotham Gazette:
The City Council voted yesterday to pass the most far-reaching and transparent open data legislation in the nation.
The Open Data Bill will require city agencies to release government data to the public online in spreadsheets to speed analysis and trend spotting by the government, outside groups, and citizens alike.
The bill will be fully enacted by 2018. The first wave of data — that which is already available online — will be combined into one web portal within the year. The bill will also create an online forum for citizens to provide feedback on the data released and request more specific data or point out trends.
“What we're striving to do here is making sure we get the total data and get it out there regularly,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, adding that the bill will create a “more transparent, effective and I hope, problem-solving focused government.”
As the city aims to adapt its governing policies to the digital age, it is becoming increasingly transparent.
The data that will be disclosed is essentially all the data the city would otherwise release if released via a Freedom of Information Act request. There are exceptions to the rule — like employment and legal data, and the data sets used by only one agency and stored on one computer.
The bill will cost the city around a million dollars, Quinn said, “it’s a lot of data.” But she doesn’t expect additional staff to be added for it. The bill doesn’t include an enforcement mechanism, but Quinn said that with the Mayor’s support, “'we don't expect anything but full compliance.”
As for the city’s game plan to enact the massive data release, the bill’s lead sponsor Gale Brewer said that’s up to the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, with input from the Council of course.