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Mayor Walsh announces open and protected data policy

July 30, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today released  he Open and Protected Data Policy, designed to increase transparency and accountability by opening more City data to the public. The policy fulfills a commitment made by the Mayor in his Executive Order on Open and Protected Data last year. The policy calls for City agencies to publish data sets on the City's open data portal (http://data.cityofboston.gov/) and provides guidance for protecting sensitive information, and is available for viewing here.

"The City's Open and Protected Data Policy builds on my commitment to openness and transparency in government," said Mayor Walsh. "This new policy will make more data available to the public, encourage business to build useful applications with City data, and increase collaboration between the City and the research community."

The Open and Protected Data Policy was created by the Department of Innovation and Technology and the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, with input from the public, City departments and outside experts. The policy will streamline the release of new datasets. It adopts a Creative Commons license for all data released by the City to encourage the use of data for commercial and non-commercial purposes. It also provides a framework for responsibly sharing data with researchers and other partner organizations. 

To accompany the release of the data policy, the City of Boston has announced the current availability of a number of new datasets:

  • Usage information from the City's ParkBoston meter parking payment program
  • Boston Police Department firearm recovery data
  • Usage information for the City's Wicked Free WiFi initiative
  • Residential recycling/waste tonnage
  • Active user counts from the Boston Public Libraries

The City of Boston also announced today that they are joining the Building and Land Development Specification (BLDS), one of a number of emerging Open Data standards. BLDS provides a standardized format for data about development projects and is being adopted by municipalities around the country.

"Data standards like BLDS make open data more useful," said Chief Information Officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge. "They encourage private companies to use open data, and make it easier for residents and businesses to access the information they need."

Since the Mayor signed the Open and Protected Data Executive Order in April 2014, the City has continued to expand its open data program:

  • The number of published data sets has grown from 342 to 376. New datasets include data on tax assessing for City properties, Liquor Licenses, as well as economic indicators tracked by the BRA.
  • The City was selected as a Knight News Challenge grant recipient to make Open Data more useful by creating data-focused programs within the Boston Public Library.

In April, the City of Boston hosted its second HubHacks hackathon, where members of the public were invited to use City data and data from partners to tell the story of Boston through data visualization.