While the fiscal 2010 budget plan for federal IT investments cites efforts to build Recovery.gov, a federal site for tracking stimulus spending, it is silent on the extent to which subcontractor funding and performance will be disclosed. Lawmakers and interest groups are seeking more specifics on such transactions.
The budget also proposes to overhaul USASpending.gov, a Web site that is supposed to disclose all federal loans and contracts. Before he was elected, then-Senator Obama co-sponsored legislation to create the searchable site, but lawmakers recently have criticized the site for lacking information on subcontracts.
Visitors to USASpending.gov will be able to download data "to combine into different data sets, conduct analysis and research, or power new information-based products and businesses," according to an analytical perspectives section of the budget that was issued this week.
In other words, citizens, nonprofits and the private sector would be able to layer the government data on top of other Web tools, or "mash-up" the data, to see links between lobbyists and contract awards, taxpayer dollars and return on investment, and other measures of accountability.
The budget reaffirms that work is underway on Data.gov, a downloadable, comprehensive repository of all government data that does not compromise security or privacy. But, again, details are scant.
The budget is clear on its endorsement of the use of social networking tool in agencies, referring to this as "Web 2.0 in Government."
Syndicated news feeds, "video-sharing" sites such as YouTube, podcasts, web page bookmarking, widgets, virtual worlds and "micro-blogs" such as Twitter, are among the interactive gadgets cited generically in the document.
"Existing government websites need to be revitalized with community-driven features and functionality," it states, adding that agencies should "push" opportunities for participating in policy making to site visitors.