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CIO Kundra Details Data.gov eGovernment Initiative

Vivek Kundra, Federal CIO at the Potomac Officers' Club
Vivek Kundra, Federal CIO at the Potomac Officers' Club

Federal CIO Kundra spoke Monday at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference in Manhattan about his plan to give American citizens unprecedented access to their government’s raw data by launching Data.gov at the end of the month.

Kundra said, “The premise behind behind Data.gov goes to the philosophy around transparency and open government that the president has been talking about. What we want to do is democratize data and democratize information and put it in the public square.  The default setting of the United States should not be that everything should be secret and closed.”

Precautions will be excersized against divulging information that would US citizens’ privacy rights, continued Kundra, but every other data feed the government produces will be available on Data.gov, where the public can mash it against other feeds, analyze it, and rate it. To prevent government departments from distorting data, all of it will be gathered from as close to the source as possible.

Kundra said of the program’s detractors, “People who want to preserve the status quo, in whatever form it exists, are going to be disrupted, whether it’s companies that may have contracts that don’t want to move in a direction that helps taxpayers save money, or people who are afraid of change in general in terms of new ways of doing things, or any type of special interest.”

But that isn’t the only change Kundra has in mind. “The Transportation Security Agency was looking to launch a blog. They met with their CIO, and their CIO said ‘Oh great, we’ve got to go through this certification and accreditation process, we’ve got to go through the FISMA, and it’s going to cost us $600,000 to launch a blog.  Well, wiser minds prevailed.”

Kundra hopes that his clout as CIO will continue to help the “wiser minds” prevail.

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