Thursday, July 02, 2009

Obama and the I in IT

The title of this entry links to an excellent short piece by Cory Doctorow in the most recent edition of Make Magazine. "If You Can't Open Government, You Don't Own It," draws an enthusiastic connection between what is perhaps the core principle of Make (take it apart and figure out how it works and how to make it do what you want! restrictive end-user-licensing be damned!) and the intentions of the Obama administration:
President Obama went even further: the Jan. 21 memo tells agencies that: "They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely."
In today's "How the World Works," Andrew Leonard points out that (found via Barry Ritholtz's The Big Picture) is an incredibly powerful interface to a database of federal spending. Although it debuted on July 1, it's not exactly brand new -- it's actually a government organized relaunch of a previously existing Web site,, that was set up by the non-profit OMB Watch a couple of years ago. But it's slick, and it's fast, and it is supposed to gradually incorporate more and more data from government agencies.
Warning: the website is kind of addictive. Go search it, though, and let us know what you find.

No comments: