This article is cross-posted on the Treasury Notes blog
Today, the Obama Administration launched the Smart Disclosure Data Community at Consumer.Data.gov, an important step to empower Americans with the data and tools they need to make more informed choices in the marketplace.
“Smart disclosure” is the act of making potentially useful data more readily available—both to consumers directly and to innovators who can use it to build tools that help consumers make smart decisions. Federal agencies have already taken steps to promote smart disclosure by unleashing their data to support creation of a range of new apps, websites, and services—including product comparison websites, mobile shopping apps, and personalized dashboards that help consumers monitor their finances and energy usage.
The Community announced today is a first-of-its-kind centralized platform containing over 400 smart disclosure data sets and resources from dozens of agencies across government. Using the Community, entrepreneurs and innovators can access free Federal data to create the consumer applications, products, and services of the future—all in one convenient location. This new Community is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to foster an Open Government and unlock the potential of Open Data for the benefit of American citizens.
Innovators have already built a number of successful products using smart disclosure data. One company offers a mobile app that uses freely available Federal data about health care facilities, along with other information, to connect patients to local health care providers. Another startup uses free data from the Department of Labor to help individuals understand their 401(k) plans. Yet another company employs anonymized credit card complaint data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help consumers monitor their credit and debit cards for suspicious charges.
Other tools focus on empowering individuals to make informed decisions based on their own personal data, while ensuring security and safeguarding privacy. For example, a number of companies provide tailored advice for individuals about how to save money on their electricity bills based on their own energy usage data, which is made available through the Administration-catalyzed, industry-led Green Button initiative. Other efforts focus on giving consumers better access to their own health records and personal education data so that they can make informed choices.
The Smart Disclosure Community is designed to accelerate these innovations and fuel the next generation of tools to help consumers manage their decisions in a variety of domains, including: education, energy, environment, finance, food and nutrition, health, housing, safety, and transportation. It also contains dozens of already-existing consumer apps built using smart disclosure data; information on Federal challenges related to smart disclosure; and online forums for dialog on this important topic.
Entrepreneurs, innovators, suppliers of consumer goods and services, and members of the public are invited to explore the Smart Disclosure Data Community and join the conversation in our community forums.
Sophie Raseman is Director of Smart Disclosure in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Consumer Policy
Nick Sinai is US Deputy Chief Technology Officer at OSTP