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US gov 'transparency' websites targeted for big, fat budget cuts

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A campaign is underway in the US to save the government-endorsed website Data.gov and six other portals from the axe.

Ironically, one of the sites earmarked for the budget slash includes the USAspending.gov portal.

"Some of the most important technology programs that keep Washington accountable are in danger of being eliminated," said non-profit outfit Sunlight Foundation, whose campaign to "stop transparency cutbacks" has already got the backing of World Wide Web inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, "Data.gov, USASpending, the IT Dashboard and other federal transparency and government accountability programs" have been targeted, however it's understood that such budgets cuts are yet to be agreed by Congress.

Data.gov was only launched by federal CIO Vivek Kundra in May 2009.

Fast Company reported earlier this week that the proposed cuts could see the Government Electronic Fund (GEF) slashed from $32m to just $2m, which would - according to open data enthusiasts at least - undermine President Barack Obama's initial transparency and technology splurge.

Similarly, in January last year the UK Cabinet Office officially took the wraps off its Data.gov.uk web portal, which is intended to serve as a central repository for British citizens to gain access to some government data.

Developers on this side of the pond have already expressed concerns about what the potential GEF budget reduction in the US could mean for Data.co.uk, given that the Coalition is currently on a spending slash frenzy of its own. ®

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