Privacy and Public Engagement in Seattle’s Open Data Policy

The City of Seattle, Washington was one of the first U.S. cities to pursue open data, creating the first iteration of its open data portal in 2010 under Mayor Michael McGinn, a prominent proponent of government transparency.
April 11, 2017

The City of Seattle, Washington was one of the first U.S. cities to pursue open data, creating the first iteration of its open data portal in 2010 under Mayor Michael McGinn, a prominent proponent of government transparency. Since then, Seattle has established itself as a leader in open data, consistently increasing the volume and accessibility of available information. In 2015, Seattle was named a What Works City, and according to Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Michael Mattmiller, it came at the perfect time for building the city’s open data capabilities. “We were already thinking about how to re-engage the city and expand the open data portal’s use,” Mattmiller said. “One of the areas that we identified to focus on was this notion of creating an open data policy.” The city began work with What Works Cities partner the Sunlight Foundation to develop this policy. “It was very helpful for us to have the model policy language, to have specific policy objectives that we could work towards,” said Mattmiller. “But, we also realized that we had some unique aspects of Seattle that we had to mediate.”

 

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