US gov open data, code push

The White House has set a deadline of September 15 for all US government departments to post details of their "open government" plans.

The letter [PDF] from the country's chief technology officer Megan Smith and chief information officer Tony Scott requires all departments to post what they are doing with a host of open government issues, including the provision of data in open formats and the use of open-source software, to their websites and to http://[agency].gov/open.

It has been over six years since the US government first published its open government directive in December of 2009. Despite concerted effort, progress has been slow. So slow, in fact, that the departments had been given more than a two-year heads-up of this latest letter, with a memo in February of 2014 saying it expected them to draw up plans to be published.

Open government advocates are excited to see that there is finally a clear and comprehensive set of guidelines that agencies will be required to follow and report on. They are less excited about the fact that the White House's own open government plan has not been updated since 2010. ®

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