The crisis for government data in a 21st century shutdown


It was just three months ago that President Obama celebrated the startups built on open government data. With the help of freely available public information, these companies can build sustainable businesses while creating jobs and solving problems. That’s the idea, anyway. Today, walking through the strangely empty streets of downtown D.C., it’s hard to imagine an entrepreneur naive enough to take that offer.

Across the government’s data offerings, the now ten-day shutdown has meant disruptions, downtime and confusion. A sampling of what’s available and what isn’t: is down; so is the Census. is up, but it’s not releasing any new data. Federal Register staffers say they’re keeping the system up, and that some new data might come through, but that they can’t correct errors. The Library of Congresssaid its THOMAS system would be going offline, then decided it would stay up. is still online, thanks…

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