Earlier this week CivSource reported on an effort by Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu to get the city of Boston to implement a stronger open data policy. That effort seems have been successful. The Mayor has signed an executive order implementing an open data policy.
The executive order notes the importance of greater government transparency and authorizes the city’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) to create an Open Data Policy. The CIO is also tasked with outlining what parts of city data fall under a protected category, like personally identifiable information or health information.
The Order doesn’t go as far as compelling city agencies to publish data sets or establishing a timeline for publishing new data. Presumably, the Mayor is leaving that to the CIO to determine through policy discussions. However, it does pave the way for new conversations on the issue.
Boston has lagged behind other major cities like New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia on issues like open data. It already has some datasets available online, however those have been made available through Freedom of Information Act requests or other means not driven by a set policy. The Order represents a first step toward codifying a policy in local code.