HHS Wants to Be a 'Data Sugar Daddy'

The State Department's Office of eDiplomacy hosted a conference Friday that sought to connect technology innovators with those interested in "diplomacy and development to enable 21st century statecraft." More than 300 people from federal agencies and the private sector attended Tech@State, held at the agency's Harry S. Truman Building in Washington. The focus was on open source software.

A few noteworthy items from the conference:

Chief Technology Officer of the United States Aneesh Chopra said all federal agencies now have Congressional authority to pursue prize-based challenges, such as those for developing new applications. "No general counsel can stand in the way of our movement [on] this philosophy," he said.

The White House is considering imposing some type of consistency standard for .gov websites, said White House New Media Director Macon Phillips. The administration wants to interject a little more rhyme and reason to the sites, Phillips said.

State will continue to consider open source technology where it makes the most sense, said Chief Information Officer Susan Swart. Specifically, the agency will look at internal applications that can be hosted using open-source software, she said.

Next week, the Health and Human Services Department will launch a HealthData.gov community on the U.S.'s open data site data.gov. It will be a one-stop resource for health data innovation, said Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. Part of the site will serve as a virtual apps expo, where Park expects people to find problems with the data the agency puts out, as HHS simply does not have enough manpower to check all of it.

Perhaps the best quote of the day came from Park, who said HHS wants to provide developers with the raw data and let them take the lead in creating the software and tools to use it. The agency wants to be a "data sugar daddy," he said to laughter.

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