US President Obama has signed an executive order that requires all government data be made available in open and machine-readable formats.
The order is aimed at making large amounts of previously inaccessible data open to entrepreneurs, researchers, and inventors. Supporters of the order say it will lead to job growth and improved government efficiency.
Obama said: "One of the things we're doing to fuel more private sector innovation and discovery is to make vast amounts of America's data open and easy to access for the first time in history. And talented entrepreneurs are doing some pretty amazing things with it.
"Starting today, we're making even more government data available online, which will help launch even more new startups. And we're making it easier for people to find the data and use it, so that entrepreneurs can build products and services we haven't even imagined yet."
The order will see a variety of data from government entities be made available to the public online. The order will require government organisations to begin to collate data in a way that will make it accessible to the public.
Types of data that will be available include government information on finance, education, and energy. All data made available will be scrubbed to safeguard privacy, national security, and confidentiality.
Government agencies that take part in the release of data now have three months to prep information in a manner that meets with the White House's Open Data Policy.
The order continues Obama's trend of making the government more progressive when it comes it technology. Last May, the president made his original call to offer more government data openly to the public.
Supporters of the order say it opens a huge opportunity for the US technology sector. Kevin Richards, TechAmerica's senior vice president of federal government affairs, said in a blog post that the bill will help advance the big data industry in the US.
"Access to the monumental amount of government data will fuel untold numbers of new innovative ideas in this country," wrote Richards. "By making open data the default policy of the entire federal government instead of discretionary, President Obama has handed the US technology industry a key to expand our global leadership in this era of big data."
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