Government data, policies, and practices are fragmented, which prevents scalable tools, improved services, and increases economic inequity.

Everyone wants a good government that is open, transparent, and effective. To get there, we need access to government data to build better tools accessible to the public.

But government data is unique: Government entities generate data used by the government, private industry, public groups, and citizens.

  • The data is publicly owned.

  • The data source is also a primary consumer.

  • And often, the data requires heavy compliance because it can be sensitive for privacy or security purposes.

The Challenge

There are two related challenges.

First, government data policies, practices, and technology are fragmented. The lack of technical, policy and procedural standards creates inefficiencies at all levels of government —federal, state, local, and municipal— and prevents government entities from sharing data.

And second, the vast majority of the 19k government entities in the United States lack the resources, technical, financial, and know-how to build technology solutions.

Why this matters

As a result, a small group of large tech companies controls the market. But this creates vendor lock-in and high prices, preventing the vast majority of government entities from entirely publishing their data and making it accessible.

Instead, small government entities hack together legacy digital tools, paper, and a la carte services.

It’s no surprise that government data is inaccessible and the $3T open data economy is untapped. It’s an underground freshwater lake we all know exists, but nobody knows how to pump the water out.

But if there were a standard that allowed government entities to share data more efficiently, it would benefit the economy, reduce the costs of government services, and strengthen democracy.

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