Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Those Special Interests and Public Data

One of the things that's problematic these days is the line between public data and non-public data. Obama ran on transparent government, meaning government data should be freely available. But you run into problems, as is illustrated in the following, when private interests have found a way to exploit public data and sell it, or perhaps some farmers are trying to claim a privacy interest:
"If you are an FSA/NRCS/RD employee or have an E-Authentication account, go directly to the USDA Geospatial Data Gateway to order the Common Land Unit (CLU) data. Be sure to click on the Login menu item for the E-Authentication.
Please be advised that with the enactment of The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Title I - Commodity Programs, Subtitle F - Administration, Section 1619 on May 22, 2008, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is no longer allowed to make the geospatial data, including access to the Common Land Unit records, available to the public, even through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Section 1619 is an Exemption 3 statute that prohibits FSA from sharing this data with the public."
This isn't an "earmark", mandating the spending of taxpayer money on a particular project, but it works the same, because a narrow interest is being served without a proper debate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the CLU data is not there for me, logged in with eAuth....