NEW YORK: REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR AND THE STATE LEGISLATURE
Open Data: Key to the Future — Not long ago, the term “E-Government” meant “electronic” government and referred to the use of new technologies to increase government transparency. It encompassed primarily the adoption of e-mail and other electronic means to facilitate government’s response to public inquiries. Today the term has a new, far broader meaning. “E-Government” now represents the proactive use of technologies to make the vast amounts of valuable government-held information more widely available, and to facilitate its ready use by policy makers and the public alike. Understood in this sense, E-Government transforms the foundations of open government: transparency, participation and collaboration.
A. Open Data: The Essential Next PhaseAs we continue to analyze the potential benefits of proactive disclosure, we have become increasingly aware of the importance of “open data” to attaining these benefits. An open or free file format refers to the way digital data is stored. Open data is information made available in a digital format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, searched and used with commonly available software and web search applications.Maximizing the potential of E-Government requires not only pro-active disclosure, but disclosure wherever possible in a form that is readily useable—avoiding proprietary formats in favor of standard systems and methods. This objective should be embraced in the provisions of FOIL itself, which can readily be achieved within the current structure of the statute.