U.S. to post massive amount of government data to the Internet

The Obama administration announced today that the United States government will be posting a large amount of Cabinet-level department data to the Internet, with topics ranging from Medicare to Transportation, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The newly available information comes a year after President Obama promised that the United States government would be more open and transparent.

Under a December 8th directive from the White House, each department must post at least three collections of data classified as “high-value”, which have never previously been disclosed to the public.

For example, the Transportation Department will post ratings for 2,400 lines of tires for consumer safety based on tire tread wear, traction performance and temperature resistance. The Labor Department will be required to release almost 80,000 names of workplaces where injuries and illnesses have occurred over the past 10 years.

This move also means that resources which were available for a fee (such as the country’s Medicare database, available for $100 on CD-ROM) will be available to for download free from the Internet.

"We're democratizing data," said Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer for the White House in an interview on Thursday.

Under the new initiative, the following departments will be required to release information: State, Treasury, Defence, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the offices of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the Council of Economic Advisers will also be required to release new data.

All of the information will be made available on the government’s web site, http://www.data.gov.

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