In Hawaii, open data is the law

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We're forecasting sunnier skies in Hawaii today, as Gov. Neil Abercrombie is scheduled to sign the state's first open data bill into law. The bill requires data already deemed public to be made available online and requires the state CIO to set policy and procedures that include "whenever practicable, the use of machine readable, non-proprietary technical standards for web publishing."

Sen. Glenn Wakai, Chair of Hawaii's Technology and Art Committee, co-sponsored bill HB632.

"Open data is the foundation for a better Hawaii," Wakai said in a statement, "and I was delighted to support this grassroots effort by the tech community." Wakai also stressed Hawaii's open data initiative as a critical component of increased government transparency. "This new law is a significant step towards a government that is measurable, responsive, and more accountable," he said.

The bill is a collaborative effort, the product of conversations between representatives from the financial industry, public interest groups, and entrepreneurs. Burt Lum, Executive Director of Hawaii Open Data, who also supported the bill, said he looks forward to seeing how citizens will use the new data at their disposal.

"The State is a treasure trove of public data, and with that data more accessible to the public, it becomes a foundational tool for our civic innovators to build upon," Lum said. "We’ve already seen great things from local developers—including several apps for TheBus riders and insightful visualizations of government spending—and we can expect to see much more of this creativity and innovation in the community."

Hawaii's open data repository is now online.

Bryan Behrenshausen
Bryan formerly managed the Open Organization section of, which features stories about the ways open values and principles are changing how we think about organizational culture and design. He's worked on since 2011. Find him online as semioticrobotic.

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