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Congress approves act that opens US government data to the public

December 24, 2018 / Saqib Shah

Congress has passed a bill that could make it easier for you to access public data released by the government. The House approved the OPEN Government Data Act on Saturday, while all eyes were on the shutdown, as part of a larger bill to support evidence-based policymaking. It requires that federal agencies must publish any "non-sensitive" info in a "machine-readable" format (essentially in a way that's legible on your smartphone or laptop). The act also insists that agencies appoint a chief data officer to oversee all open data efforts. Having passed the Senate last Wednesday, the bill is next headed to the President's desk.