White House hails new study on open data


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A new report by McKinsey & Co. has been getting traction from the U.S. deputy chief technology officer after it revealed open data can generate more than $3 trillion in additional value to areas such as education, health care and transportation.

Nick Sinai, U.S. deputy CTO, said the Obama administration’s open data policies were reinforced by McKinsey’s findings.

The report found open data increases efficiency and development of new products, services and consumer surplus. The $3 trillion in potential value is divided into $1.1 trillion for the United States, $900 billion for Europe and $1.7 trillion for the rest of the world.

“These findings are encouraging and provide even more fuel to mobilize all hands on deck to unleash the full value of open data,” Sinai wrote in an Oct. 29 blog post.

Governments have a central role in creating and regulating open data, according to the study. Government agencies were encouraged to make their data as open as possible.

The study also found open data creates new risks for governments, individuals and businesses. Open data can tie unwanted information to individuals, expose corrupt business practices or unearth government inefficiency.

The study comes after the Open Government Partnership released a progress report on the United States. The United States has completed 15 of its 26 open data goals.

However, some open data groups thought the goals the United States set for itself were what John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation called “low-hanging fruit.” For example, the United States had neglected to set corporate responsibility goals.

“Stakeholders noted that many of what they deemed to be the most critical policy areas, many of which require significant political life, remained outside the action plan,” the report said.

The Obama administration launched an open government initiative at the end of 2009, which required federal agencies to open some data and to be more transparent. Part of the initiative was to create the Data.gov website, which provides data sets to the public. In May this year, the White House expanded on that effort by releasing the open data policy, which urged agencies to make data more open and accessible to citizens.

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data analytics, Government IT News, John Wonderlich, Nick Sinai, open data, open government, Tech, White House
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