After reading a great article by the Sunlight Foundation on the failure to date of data.gov, I wanted to express my personal view on the matter. I’m a huge fan of openness and information being freely available. That was one of the main reasons I founded freedomspeaks.com and its corresponding set of APIs. After reading some of the comments to the Sunlight Foundation’s blog post, I was amazed at the faith people have in big government. I, personally, am not surprised one bit in the government’s inability to produce. In fact, I pretty much expected as much. If history has shown us anything, it’s that government, when left to its own devices, can’t produce anything viable or useful to its constituents (with the sole exception of a military and defense). The federal government’s answer to a downloadable dataset is a .PDF of a scanned document. While technically this is a “digital” document, and it would have the data contained therein, it’s pretty much worthless for someone trying to do anything of value with it. You might as well line the bird cage with it – you’ll actually get more use out of it that way. This is pretty much what I expected out of Uncle Sam. Which is why I’m a firm believer that it’s a private company that will succeed in this endeavor, that endeavor being, of course, FreedomSpeaks.
UPDATE: Also, I’d like to express my extreme discontent with the $17 Million use of proceeds to revamp the whitehouse.gov website. Ask any web developer, their site could have been developed in less time with only $170,000. This is a wonderful example of how the government constantly mismanages our taxpayer dollars. Honestly President Obama, do you know how much $17 Million would be to a internet startup? My gosh, that would be an unheard of Series A!