“Proactive disclosure” of public information on the Internet is the next logical step in the evolution of government transparency, according to the Empire Center for New York State Policy, which today released model legislation to make it a reality.
“Technology has advanced us to a place where posting data online should be the norm,” said Tim Hoefer, director of the Empire Center. “Government entities should be keeping up with the times.”
The proposed See-Through Government Transparency Act would update the state’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) by requiring state and local government agencies to post data they are now required to release in response to FOIL requests, including payrolls, expenditures, contracts for purchases of goods and services, collective bargaining agreements and annual reports.
Hoefer said the draft legislation was inspired by the success of the Empire Center’s SeeThroughNY website, which has attracted millions of visitors since it began posting searchable databases of government payroll, expenditure and contract information nearly three years ago. Many newspapers also have been posting local government data on their websites.