Since the early days of his campaign, when President Obama was keeping supporters informed via text messages, e-mail, and Web page, there was never a question that he would be one of the most tech savvy to occupy the White House to date. Then came the fight to keep his BlackBerry, despite concerns expressed by the Secret Service and the national intelligence agencies. So his push for open government and transparency is a natural next step.
But true transparency won't come easily, according to the deputy CTO for open government, Beth Noveck. Speaking at last week's Web 2.0 Expo, Noveck indicated that cost and privacy concerns are two things that come into play when deciding what government data should go public and when. According to InformationWeek, Noveck said:
As we start thinking about what data we do not collect that we should be collecting, what data is in paper format and needs to be digitized, what data is available but not easy for people to find, we have to prioritize data that's of the greatest value to people.
Moreover, data has to be scrubbed of personally identifiable information (Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) before it can be made public.
InformationWeek writer J. Nicholas Hoover notes that federal CTO Aneesh Chopra should be releasing the Open Government Directive, designed to help government agencies become transparent, soon. However, no definite release date is available at this point.