A new nonprofit organization, comprised of private sector companies and many former public officials, is advocating for standardizing federal data published online.
Technology companies such as Microsoft and Teredata and several policy veterans have joined to form the Data Transparency Coalition, the newly formed group announced Monday.
The group will work with Congress and the executive branch to develop initiatives that promote publishing information such as spending data and regulatory findings in accessible and transparent formats.
The coalition’s advisory board members include Beth Noveck, former U.S. deputy chief technology officer, and Earl Devaney, former chairman of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board.
Executive Director Hudson Hollister said the government often fails to adopt consistent machine-readable identifiers and uniform markup languages when it does make data available online.
According to Hollister, the coalition aims to promote data standardization in order to provide searchable information that agencies and citizens can use to identify waste, fraud or abuse patterns.
The coalition said it will support the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act in order to promote searchable and downloadable data.
Devaney the said DATA Act will promote transparency and accountability.
The DATA Act would establish a single public platform for federal spending information available for grantees, contractors and agencies.
It would also also mandate consistent file codes and markup languages.
The coalition said it would support additional legislation with similar goals of standard identification numbers for companies and information formats.
That legislation includes the Financial Industry Transparency Act, the Legal Entity Identifier Proposal and the Public Online Information Act.