OPEN Government Data Act

In April 2016, the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act was formally introduced to Congress. The OPEN Government Data Act is intended to improve how the federal government makes data available to the public to facilitate transparency, improve governance, and spur innovation.

If signed into law, the bill would require government data to be machine-readable and open by default, specifying that, “When not otherwise prohibited by law, and to the extent practicable, public data assets and nonpublic data assets maintained by the Federal Government shall be available in an open format; and be available under open licenses.”

The OPEN Government Data Act passed the Senate unanimously in December 2016, but the bill did not move forward during the 114th Congress. The Act was reintroduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in March 2017. A coalition of businesses, industry groups, civil society organizations, and transparency advocates sent a letter of support urging Congress to take quick and decisive action on the bill. The OPEN Government Data Act was incorporated the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in September 2017 but was later added to Speaker Paul Ryan’s Foundation for Evidence Based Policy Making Act, which passed the House of Representatives in November 2017. As of April 2018, Speaker Ryan’s bill, which now includes the provisions of the OPEN Government Data Act, is still awaiting a final vote. You can follow the progress of the bill here.