Commerce Department launches new data advisory council

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Another day, another agency unveils a new project aimed at harnessing the government’s use of data.

The Commerce Department announced the formation of the Commerce Data Advisory Council Wednesday to help the department find different ways to use the vast data troves it oversees. In the announcement, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the council will “foster innovation, help create jobs, and drive better decision-making throughout our economy and society” with data.

“As ‘America’s Data Agency,’ we are working to unleash more of the Commerce Department’s data to strengthen our nation’s economic growth,” Pritzker said. “I am thrilled with the experts representing a diverse range of sectors from across the United States who have agreed to serve on our Data Advisory Council. Together, they will help us make our data easier to access and use, and maximize the return of data investments for entrepreneurs, government, businesses, communities and taxpayers.”

The 19-member panel is a range of people from various disciplines, including leaders from top tech companies, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations and local governments. The panel’s expertise also runs the gamut of different data types and practices, including demographic, economic, scientific, environmental, patent and geospatial data.

Executives, researchers and directors from Code From America, Intel, Google, LinkedIn, IBM, eBay, Palantir, Esri and Microsoft are among the panel’s members, who will serve two-year terms.

Karin Remington, a council member and chief technology officer of predictive analytics software company Arjuna Solutions, told FedScoop the advisory council’s diversity is crucial since there are so many ways in which people can use Commerce Department data.

The Commerce Department “is one of the key holders of so-called ‘government data,’ and they are making it a key priority, as it has always been for them, that the data be disseminated as broadly as possible and in formats that are most useful to the various consumers of that data,” Remington said. “The establishment of this committee is a real testament to the commitment to make the data they collect and hold readily available for public use.”

“Data is fueling innovation all around the country, and this council has the opportunity to help make government data more accessible and useful to both the public and private sector,” Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation, said in a statement.

The council, which is housed under the department’s Economic and Statistics Administration, will hold its first meeting on April 23 in Washington, D.C.

The council’s members are:

  • Steve Adler, chief information strategist, IBM
  • Allen Blue, co-founder and vice president, LinkedIn Corp.
  • Joy Bonaguro, chief data officer, San Francisco
  • Katy Borner, information sciences professor, Indiana University
  • Danah Boyd, principal researcher and privacy expert, Microsoft Corp.
  • Daniel Castro, director, Center for Data Innovation
  • Jack Dangermond, CEO, Esri
  • Christopher DiBona, director of open sources, Google Inc.
  • Bill Gail, chief technology officer, Global Weather Corp.
  • Stan Humphries, chief economist, Zillow
  • Heather Joseph, director, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
  • Vadim Kutsyy, head scientist for big data, eBay Inc.
  • Kevin Merritt, CEO, Socrata
  • CJ Moses, general manager, Amazon Web Services
  • Jennifer Pahlka, executive director, Code for America
  • Colin Parris, vice president of software research, General Electric Co.
  • Karin Remington, CTO, Arjuna Solutions
  • Brian Schimpf, global director of marketing, Palantir
  • Kim Stevenson, chief information officer, Intel Corp.

Read more about the council on the ESA website.

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Commerce Department, data analytics, Departments, open data, Penny Pritzker, Tech
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