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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Open Online Records Good for South Dakota, America, and Democracy

As the House takes up SB 147 on open records and SB 143 on maintaining those open records online, our legislators and Governor should see what Vivek Kundra, our newly appointed federal chief information officer, says about public records:

“I’m driving a transparency and open government agenda to make sure that the public has access to information and to government, and we rethink how the government interacts with the public in an information economy....”

“One of things we plan to embark on is launching Data.gov... which would democratize data and give data back to the public. The challenge -- whether it’s citizens, NGOs, [or] the private sector -- is to help us think through how we address some of the toughest problems in the public sector,” he said. Data.gov would publish data feeds of a vast array of data, he stated.

“We need to make sure that all that data that’s not private can be made public,” Kundra said. “What we should be thinking about is how do we begin with the assumption that the default be that we put information out into the public domain, and the second question is, what needs to be private and not the other way around,” he said [Mary Mosquera, "Kundra Named Federal CIO, Vows to Make More Data Public," Washington Technology, 2009.03.05].

Both SB 147 and SB 143 are on the right track, recognizing that we can use open records and the Internet to help generate ideas and make government more accountable than ever before. Let's Governor Rounds will sign on to the Information Age and sign these bills.

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