BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, April 4 2012
Energy information software company Opower has partnered with Facebook and the Natural Resources Defense Council to release a new social web application that allows customers of 16 U.S. energy utilities to compare how their energy usage and attempts to save energy with their Facebook friends.
This introduces a competitive element — allowing users to compare their power usage stacks up against those of their friends, the typical American or the most energy-efficient homeowners in the U.S. — in the hopes of turning the electricity bill from a monthly chore into a topic of conversation.Read More
BY Raphael Majma | Wednesday, March 21 2012
The UK government has commissioned an independent Data Strategy Board to guide and accelerate future government data releases. The board is tasked with not only determining what data should be released, but will work ... Read More
BY Nick Judd | Friday, March 9 2012
The White House has announced that the Department of Health and Human Services' Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park, will take that title again at the federal level as the next U.S. CTO. Chopra announced in late January that he would be stepping down and return to Virginia, but hasn't yet said what he'll be doing next. Park has described his role at HHS as that of an "entrepreneur in residence," which meant, in practice, spending a lot of time working to change the way HHS handles data. "The President has asked him to bring that same approach to a broader mission – helping to replicate those and other best practices across government and bring them to scale," the White House announced in a press release. Another White House official, Tom Power, will serve in another role that Chopra held, that of OSTP's associate director for technology, until a permanent replacement is found. Read More
BY Nick Judd | Thursday, March 8 2012
The White House today announced Ethics.gov, a portal the Obama administration is using to consolidate several sets of data related to elections or influence all in one place. This takes several datasets that were previously more difficult to get to and makes them more accessible and easier to use. Firstly, people who may not have known about these data now do, and have a chance to see what each dataset includes. The Sunlight Foundation's John Wonderlich writes, "... the President is acknowledging the role of public oversight, and asserting that the President has a responsibility to create meaningful online disclosure of ethics and influence information. That's a new role for the President, and one we're glad to see the White House struggling through, especially because it's a role Sunlight has tried to play as much as possible." Read More
BY Nick Judd | Friday, March 2 2012
In a paper published earlier this week, Harlan Yu and David G. Robinson assert that the phrase "open government," which used to mean government transparency — as in, revealing the internal functions and decision-making of government — has come to also mean increasing access to data that may not have anything to do at all with transparency. Read More
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, February 29 2012
As expected, the New York City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a landmark piece of legislation that would require its 50 plus agencies to publish their quantitive data sets through an online portal in a machine-readable format, enabling public and private sector access to better manipulate and interpret the city's information. The bill as passed was crafted with the cooperation of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration and it's expected that the mayor will sign the legislation into law. Read More
BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, February 28 2012
Using the Sunlight Foundation's* Capitol Words API, independent analytics consultant Dan Kozikowski has put together a look at the vocabulary of each member of Congress and mapped the results on a Google map.
By his analysis, the most loquacious legislator in the House of Representatives is Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, who holds a bachelor's degree from Yale and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Kozikowski also looked for words said only once in Congress by members of each party since 1996, which is as far back as the data available through Sunlight goes. (Sunlight gets its data from the Congressional Record.)Read More
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, February 28 2012
The New York City Council is expected to vote on a far-reaching open data bill on Wednesday that would codify many of the principles articulated by open government advocates in recent years. If made law, the bill would go further than San Francisco's pioneering 2010 open data law in depth and scope, obliging agencies to provide data online in machine-readable format though a single, citywide portal. But perhaps in a nod to the amount of work involved in working through large volumes of existing data, city agencies won't have to make theirs available through the city's portal until the end of 2018. Read More
BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 24 2012
The Associated Press' Kelli Kennedy reports that an expensive and newfangled computer system designed to prevent fraudulent Medicare payments has yielded disappointing results.
The congressionally mandated, $77 million system was built by Northrum Grumman and a group of other companies, Kennedy reports, and has yielded a savings of $7,591 so far after flagging 2,500 leads and 600 suspicious cases.Read More
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, February 23 2012
Project Vote Smart, a non-partisan voting information project whose volunteer-contributed research powers thousands of government, non-profit and commercial news web sites in the Web 2.0 age — including sites for the Federal Voting Assistance Program and CNN, among others — is struggling so much financially that its co-founder plans to suggest to his board that they literally sell the ranch. Read More