What the NYC Open Data Law Requires (2012’s Local Law plus 7 amendments from 2015, 2016 )


Happy fourth birthday to Local Law 11 of 2012, New York City’s Open Data Law. Last November and January, the first amendments to Local Law 11 were enacted (and take effect at various points in the next ten months). Below are the major mandates in the Open Data Law, as amended by 2015’s Local Law 106107, 108109110, as well as 2016’s Local Law 7 and Local Law 8. Mandates provided by amendments are italicized.

§23-502: Public data set availability

a. All data sets which were on NYC agency websites before March 2012, or subsequently published online, were required to be put on the Open Data Portal by March 2013. Agencies were supposed to report to city council if they could not put these data sets in the Open Data Portal, by the deadline.

b. Data sets on the portal must be machine-readable and allow the public to subscribe to updates.

c. Data sets must be updated as often as necessary to preserve their usefulness, as long as the agency still uses those data sets. DoITT must archive the data sets on the portal (LL 106-2015) by preserving older versions of the data sets which are updated. If a data set is available on the Open Data Portal as well as a city agency’s web site (LL 110 2015), when the data is updated on the web site, it must be updated on the Open Data Portal within ten days.

d. Data sets must be available without any registration requirement, license requirement, or restrictions on their use. (Agencies can require attribution.)

e. Data sets must be available to external searches.

f. Agencies must review their responses to Freedom of Information Law requests (LL 7 – 2016) for data sets which have not yet been included on the Open Data Portal, and describe in their compliance plan: (1) how many data sets not on the Open Data Portal were provided to the public via FOIL, (2) how many of those data sets were not on the portal, and (3) how many data sets were then put on the portal do to FOIL. (The idea is to get agencies to put a data set in the Open Data Portal whenever it is provided under FOIL.)

§23-503: Web portal administration

c. DoITT must create a forum for public feedback and encourage discussion on open data policies and data set availability.

d. Requests for inclusion of a particular data set must be considered by agencies which are prioritizing the publication of data. DoITT must provide a response to each request within two weeks (LL 109 – 2015), and the agency-owner of the requested data set must respond within two months.

§23-504: Open data legal policy

c. The Open Data Law shall not create a private right of action for enforcement of its provisions.

§23-505: Internet data set policy and technical standards

a. DoITT must publish a technical standards manual. Each data set must include a data dictionary (LL 107-2015 ), no later than December 31, 2017 for existing data sets, or within 30 days for new data sets. The technical standards manual must require every agency to geocode every address (LL 108 -2015) in their data sets.

b. DoITT must consult consensus standards bodies to develop the open standards above.

§23-506: Agency compliance plan

a. Each agency has to publish a description of all public data sets under its control, and create a timeline for the publication of each by December 31, 2018.

c. Agencies must update compliance plans every year on July 15 until every data set is published online.

Open data law agency compliance examination (LL 8 – 2016)

Open Data Law agency compliance examination: an agency designated by the mayor will present a plan for investigating agency compliance with the Open Data Law to the Department of Investigation.

  • On December 1 2016, the agency selected by the mayor will report on the compliance of the Departments of Sanitation, Correction, and Housing Preservation and Development.
  • On December 1 2017, agency will report on the Fire Department, the Department of Buildings, and the Department of Environmental Protection.
  • On December 1 2018, agency will report on the Business Integrity Commission, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Small Business Services.

On December 1, 2019, the agency selected by the mayor will report on all agencies’ compliance with the Open Data Law, and provide a complete list of every public data set absent from the portal which was discovered during the examination.