The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act, was the nation’s first open data legislation that paved the way toward greater transparency and openness. Since then much progress has been made.
Advances in identity theft detection are saving tax collection and benefits programs billions of dollars. Data scientists are using machine learning algorithms to find patterns indicative of fraudulent claims for tax refunds, social security payments, and other benefits. The solutions not only prevent billions of dollars in improper payments every year, but also help protect citizens from the hassle and delays caused by identity theft. Advances in available data and authentication technologies promise even greater gains in the years to come.
We need new discoveries and more effective methods to achieve meaningful gains in areas of key social concern, such as employment, education, security, sustainability, health, and justice. To get to the goal, agencies need to promote approaches and technologies that accelerate data-centric changes in their professional culture.
In particular, we need three types of data accelerators:
1. Open Data Accelerators
Break down data silos to unleash the power of data. Empower Chief Data Officers. Create open data standards and data integration solutions that make data easier to find and easier to share, while still maintaining security. Even for classified and sensitive data sets that will never be fully open, apply principles to make sure that shared data within the enterprise is accessible to the decision makers and workers who need it most.
2. Evidence-Based Decision-Making Accelerators
Use advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning to explore patterns in operational and performance data. Generate insights for leaders who influence program and budget decisions. Engage data scientists who specialize in helping public sector agencies advance their mission and measure their results. Focus on linking disparate data sets and conduct experiments to shed light on tricky problems such as identity theft, uneven benefits enrollment, improper payments, and grants oversight.
3. Digital Citizen Service Accelerators
Create digital experiences that engage citizens and make sure they get the most out of available data and insights. The citizen’s digital lifecycle should focus on connecting citizens seamlessly across government agencies and programs, creating more positive interactions that extend agencies’ reach and impact.