2 May 2012

Invoke, a well-established software company known for its expertise in regulatory reporting and XBRL, joins a group of prestigious technology companies and public interests that recently launched the Data Transparency Coalition (DTC) to advocate for the standardization of U.S. federal data published online. The Data Transparency Coalition is the only group unifying the technology industry in support of federal data reform. The coalition will support the bipartisan Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) and other efforts to make federal data easily searchable and downloadable.

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  • Data Transparency Coalition
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“The Data Transparency Coalition is advocating for common sense initiatives that encourage the productivity and transparency necessary for government reform,” said Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition. “Too often, the U.S. federal government doesn’t publish crucial spending details, regulatory filings, corporate disclosures or legislative actions online. Even when such data is electronically published, the government often fails to adopt consistent machine‐readable identifiers or uniform markup languages.”

Invoke is one of a small number of European companies to lend its support to this US-driven initiative. However, company CEO Rémi Lacour explains the rationale behind Invoke’s involvement:

”Against a backdrop of international economic upheaval, repeated financial scandal and a growing chasm of distrust between citizens and their political representatives, the formation of the DTC highlights the pressing need to eliminate opacity and enhance accountability at every level of government. The DTC is advocating for federal data transparency and standardization in the US, and it may initially seem strange for a European company to join such an alliance. However, even if the DTC is ‘born in the USA’, the issues it defends are of global importance, and concern citizens and corporations the world over. In France for example, Invoke is heavily involved in similar efforts, chairing the Open‐Data Commission backed by the National Association of Software Developers (AFDEL). We very much hope that industry and lobby groups in other jurisdictions will rally to the cause, and emulate the work undertaken by the DTC.”

The French government recently launched an Open-Data portal (data.gouv.fr), which offers free access to large quantities of data that was not easily accessible before.

As Invoke’s CEO Rémi Lacour is quick to point out, 

“Public data is a resource, a new and valuable raw material. In order to fully reap the benefits of platforms like data.gouv.fr in France and data.gov in the US, we need to ensure that public data is not only made freely accessible, but also digitally and on‐line using open standards such as XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) that are machine‐readable. Without data standardization, citizens, members of the media, watchdog groups, and even government agencies themselves have no means of easily searching the information to identify spending patterns or waste, fraud, and abuse. In a European context, standardized data is a prerequisite for the interoperability necessary for supporting cross‐border public services. Citizens around the world need their administrations to be open and accessible, and we need both government and broad industry initiatives to make it happen.”

About the Data Transparency Coalition

The Data Transparency Coalition is a non‐partisan trade association of technology companies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals supporting the publication of government data online in consistent machine-readable formats. The DTC is steered by a board of advisors. 

For more information, visit http://datacoalition.org.