AG Schneiderman Launches NY Open Government Website

May 31, 2012

Reinvent Albany and other open government advocates welcomed today’s launch of  the “New York Open Government,” website by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The site is an updated version of the Project Sunlight site created in 2007 by then AG Andrew Cuomo.  Nyopengovernment.com provides the public with downloadable information on campaign contributions, lobbying, and state contracts.

From the press release:

“Secrecy breeds corruption, while transparency generates confidence,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “New York Open Government will help the public keep an eye on what their government is doing in order to deter corruption and increase confidence in the public sector. This site is a one-stop-shop for New Yorkers demanding up-to-date and comprehensive information about their government.”

New York Open Government now allows users to search across multiple databases and display results on one screen. Users can also tailor searches with multiple criteria to easily find what they’re looking for. To facilitate more complex analysis by academic researchers and the media, the site has more options to export data, and significantly more fields of data available. Data will be frequently updated, and new features will encourage users to share information from the database through social media programs.

According to the AG’s office, today’s relaunch should be understood as the first step in an ongoing effort to harness the power of the internet to make government more open and accountable. Next steps should include making the data on the site available via API, so that researchers, civil society groups and apps developers can create new ways of using it. The AG’s office has had to expend a significant effort to get the data from other state agencies, and should be seeking to get the most public value from it.