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Almost 70 Localities Join New York State Open Data Platform

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 14 2013

Almost 70 localities have now signed up to share their data on New York state's open data platform three days after its launch, according to a state press release.

When the platform launched Monday, five local governments — the counties of Essex, Oneida, Onondaga, and Suffolk, as well as the City of Albany — were participating.

Now the state Office of Information Technology Services will be also be working with another 15 counties, 22 cities, 25 towns, and seven villages, including Ithaca, Long Beach, Rochester, Yonkers, Nassau County and New York City, meaning 69 localities will post their data on the platform on a rolling basis.

Freeman, who has been working on "open government" since COOG's creation in 1974, called the announcement "a development beyond our wildest dreams."

"When FOIL was enacted, high-tech was an electric typewriter," Freeman said.

FOIL is New York State's Freedom of Information Law, distinct from the federal Freedom of Information Act. COOG oversees and advises the administration of FOIL, making it a resource for reporters and other muckrakers seeking information through the state law as well as for government officials responsible for fielding FOIL requests.

It was important that "the records that are most important to the average person" through local governments to become accessible through the platform, Freeman said.

He added that he hoped the public would find innovative and creative ways to use the information "that many of us in government haven't thought of."

Freeman said the open data platform fits with COOG's precept of "proactive disclosure" — releasing information before someone has to go to the time and trouble of filing a FOIL request to get it.

He said he expected more localities to join the platform, especially as more people in local governments become comfortable with the technology.

New York localities can sign up by sending an e-mail to opendata@its.ny.gov.