Memo highlights Obama strategy on making government data usable

Upon examination, the strategy appears to build upon a foundation of several highly publicized executive orders signed by President Obama in his first days after taking office, including the "President's Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government" and OMB's own "Open Government Directive."

These orders famously pushed for government agencies to make vast amounts of data available to citizens with the hope that they would develop applications for manipulating and analyzing the data. One of the first attempts by the Obama administration to test this new strategy was the Data.gov website, first implemented and championed by Aneesh Chopra, whom Obama appointed as America's first federal chief technology officer.

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The strategy is built upon four overarching principles: an "information-centric" approach that moves from documents to discrete bits of data that can be tagged, shared and mashed up; a "shared first approach" that helps ensure cooperation across agencies using consistent and open standards; and a "customer-centric approach" to influence the design of websites, mobile applications and other delivery systems to allow citizens to consume data whenever and however they want it.

Most important is the fourth principle, a "platform of security and privacy" to ensure that any innovation marches in lockstep with development of privacy protections to keep both citizens and the nation safe.

In short, the OMB plan will "make open data, content, and web services the new default" by laying a foundation for development of a cross-agency, government-wide standard for packaging information for public use. And by enabling citizens to access government information "anywhere, anytime, on any device," OMB hopes that the strategy will be "disruptive" enough to "fundamentally shift how government connects with, and provides services to, the American people."