U.S. government posting wealth of data online

In a move that could benefit researchers and consumers alike, the Obama administration is posting to the internet a wealth of government data from all Cabinet-level departments on topics ranging from child car seats to Medicare services, reports the Associated Press. The mountain of newly available information comes a year and a day after President Obama promised on his first full day on the job an open, transparent government. Under a Dec. 8 White House directive, each department must post online at least three collections of “high-value” government data that never have been previously disclosed. The Transportation Department will post ratings for 2,400 lines of tires for consumer safety based on tire tread wear, traction performance, and temperature resistance. The Labor Department will release the names of 80,000 workplaces where injuries and illness have occurred over the past 10 years. A Medicare database that previously was available for a fee of $100 on CD-ROM now can be downloaded free of charge, providing detailed breakdowns of payments for Medicare services. The Medicare data will be sortable by the type of medical service provided. “We’re democratizing data,” White House Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said in an interview…

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