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New bill hopes to tame government data

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Transparency in government spending loses prestige if the data quality is poor. Constituents could become suspicious of information from federal agencies if it requires constant corrections or does not hold up to scrutiny. According to watchdog nonprofit OMB Watch, a recently-introduced bill in the U.S. Senate could have implications for spending on data quality.

According to the source, the Digital Accountability And Transparency (DATA) Act, currently progressing in the Senate, would create a new agency with the power to oversee a number of elements of government data traits. Everything from release policy to a new set of standards is included in the legislation, along with language specifically pitched at boosting data quality.

OMB Watch noted that much of the information released by the current federal website is beset by accuracy problems. The new bill has special stipulations for reporting agencies, requiring them to make an annual report on many facets of their data quality. The move would enable a ranking of organizations and boost transparency.

A U.K. agency is taking a different approach to data quality management. According to UKAuthority, the city council in Lambeth is counting on a crowdsourced approach to keep its demographic data accurate and up-to-date.