Data.gov sets requirements on privacy, quality and security

GCN Awards Certainly the idea of exposing government data for public use is appealing enough. But a lot of work goes into making even raw data presentable to the public.

When assembling the data feeds for Data.gov, the developmnent team contacted the chief data stewards for each agency, who in turn communicated with department and program managers for possible datasets.

The data had to meet three requirements:

  • It did not contain any privacy-related information.
  • It complied with the 2000 Federal Data Quality Act, which set minimum standards for data accuracy being published by agencies.
  • It did not reveal any information that could imperil national security.

The last one was the trickiest, since sensitive data can sometimes be assembled from multiple, and seemingly innocuous, data sources. The initial data sets chosen for Data.gov were, for the most part, datasets that were already published and had met the above criteria, said Sanjeev "Sonny" Bhagowalia, the chief information officer for The Interior Department, and co-lead of the Data.gov project.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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