Meanwhile, activist groups and individual residents are placing increasing pressure on state and local government to be more transparent and accountable, even as others sound an alarm over the privacy issues that inevitably attend greater data promiscuity. This takes the form of political pressure to release more information, as well as increased requests for information under the many public records acts across the country.
The result of these forces is that cities are beginning to open their data as never before. It turns out there is surprisingly little research to date into the important and growing area of municipal open data. This article is among the first sustained, cross-disciplinary assessments of an open municipal government system. We are a team of researchers in law, computer science, information science, and urban studies. We have worked hand-in-hand with the City of Seattle, Washington for the better part of a year to understand its current procedures from each disciplinary perspective. Based on this empirical work, we generate a set of recommendations to help the city manage risk latent in opening its data.