Open government has become the buzz phrase in the Obama administration. When OMB Director Peter Orszag in December last year released the Open Government Directive to federal department and agency executives to expand upon President Barack Obama’s January memorandum on transparency and open government, he noted how transparency, participation and collaboration formed the cornerstone of an open government.
One of the corporations involved in the collaboration to promote openness within the government through technology is Microsoft. In an interview with ExecutiveBiz, Microsoft Federal Government’s Vice President Teresa Carlson said one of the key technologies that will open up information is cloud computing.
“I do believe that it will be cloud and opening up information–how can information really be opened up to provide access to research organizations and citizens because there is really still an issue with PII (personally held information),” Carlson said.
Microsoft’s Open Government Data Initiative is a cloud-based collection of software assets that allows users to easily access publicly available government data. Using open standards and application programming interfaces, developers and government agencies can retrieve the data programmatically for use in new and innovative online applications, or mash-ups that can help increase government transparency, as well as improve citizen services.
In addition to increasing transparency, technology can also play a role in supporting the economy and drive new business through IT.
“For all of the companies in this local area, we need to continue to band together and work together on standards that can help provide this administration with new ways, thoughts and ideas on how technology can help support, not just the federal government but the greater good of the economy to really pump it up again,” Carlson said.
As for Microsoft aiding others through new technology, the corporation announced in the beginning of February how it plans to offer U.S. scientists access to cloud computing through its Windows Azure computing system. According to The New York Times, while no dollar amount was disclosed, Dan Reed, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for technology strategy and policy, said the company was prepared to invest millions of dollars in the service and that it could support thousands of scientific research programs.