Monday, March 02, 2015

Sunlight Foundation wins request for feds to release data not previously available

In a major win for freedom of the press and open government, the Sunlight Foundation last month won a request from December 2013 for access to agency Enterprise Data Inventories, which are "comprehensive lists of a federal agency’s information holdings, providing an unprecedented view into data held internally across the government," Matthew Rumsey, Sean Vitka and John Wonderlich report for Sunlight Foundation.

The information, released on Saturday, includes data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency, Sunlight Foundation communications director Jenn Topper said in an email to The Rural Blog. "This release highlights hundreds of datasets that have not previously been indexed, as well as those publicly identified for the first time."

"The newly released index of VA datasets includes 129 that are currently withheld from the public, in addition to 770 that are already published," Topper writes. "However, the fact that the VA holds vast troves of other information not yet included shows there is still much work to be done."

Data also reveals hazardous conditions complaints provided by the mining industry to the Department of Labor, Topper writes. "The Department of Labor’s index also includes a number of internal financial datasets (related to congressional appropriations, outlays and more) that we expect to be opened up eventually in compliance with the DATA Act." Also included are an Office of Personnel Management database and platform for tracking congressional inquiries. OPM also has a database of vendors it has hired to hold leadership trainings for federal employees. Recently released data can be found by clicking here.

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