Data transparency coalition forms with backing of Microsoft

Tech companies and public interest groups formed a new coalition Monday that will work to bring openness to the collection, retention and release of government data.

The Data Transparency Coalition will support efforts to make government data more accessible to the public, both through web databases and the release of raw data to programmers that could be used for creating mobile apps.

The coalition said it would engage with Congress and the executive branch on initiatives to publish federal information — including spending data, regulatory filings and legislative information — in machine-readable formats.

Corporate members of the coalition include Microsoft and Teradata, among others.  On the group’s board is Earl Devaney, former chair of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, and Beth Noveck, former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer. 

The coalition focus on advocating for "common sense initiatives that encourage the productivity and transparency necessary for government reform,” said executive director Hudson Hollister. 

“Too often, the federal government doesn’t publish crucial spending details, regulatory filings, corporate disclosures or legislative actions online," Hollister said. “Americans need their government to be open and accessible, and we need an industry initiative to make it happen.”

The group is already backing two pieces of legislation: the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), sponsored in the House by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and the Public Online Information Act, a proposal from Democrats.