Open Government data fuels private sector innovation: Data Jams, Hackathons and Datapaloozas.

Shortly after his election in 2008, President Obama launched the Open Government Initiative, an effort to increase transparency, participation and collaboration in the federal government. The White House website noted that government data had traditionally been inaccessible to the public:

“For too long, the American people have experienced a culture of secrecy in Washington, where information is locked up, taxpayer dollars disappear without a trace, and lobbyists wield undue influence. For Americans, business as usual in Washington has reinforced the belief that the government benefits the special interests and the well-connected at the expense of the American people.”

The initiative introduced a number of websites to offer raw government data directly to the public. On, citizens can access government datasets from a variety of disciplines — from National Science Foundation research grants to the FDIC failed bank list. On, citizens can download federal spending data by location, year, agency or category — for example, all spending on Department of Defense contracts in 2010. Continue>>>