Congressional Representatives and Tech Entrepreneurs Talk Data

A Congressional Transparency Caucus panel of House Representatives and tech entrepreneurs met to discuss the impact of variety of issues related to data, including the recently passed H.R. 4164, according to the Data Transparency Coalition (“DTC”). 

The DTC stated that the U.S. Senate is poised to act on its version of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (“DATA Act”), which was shepherded through the House of Representatives last November (388-1) by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).  The DATA Act would mandate the implementation of government-wide data standards for public information on federal spending.

Additionally, panel members discussed the “potentially devastating impact of H.R. 4164,” or the “Small Business Disclosure Simplification Act,” which was approved this month and exempts over 60% of U.S. public companies from the obligation to file their financial statements with the SEC in the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (“XBRL”) structured data format.

According to members of the panel, businesses would be “severely impacted” if H.R. 4164 were adopted, since “open data must be easily consumable, complete, and of high quality” in order for it to be useful for businesses, and H.R. 4164 would render the SEC’s current corporate financial data set “so incomplete as to make it functionally useless.”

The panel called for Congress to reject H.R. 4164 and direct the SEC to validate and enforce the quality of structured data corporate financial statement filings.  Additionally, panelists advocated for the expansion of structured data tagging to other submissions that are expressed today as plain-text documents, such as earning releases on Form 8-K.

See:  DTC Blog: Reps. Issa and Quigley Talk Open Data and Jobs at Transparency Caucus Panel.
See also:  H.R. 4164; DTC Blog: House Financial Services Committee Moves to Exempt Most Companies from Open Data Reporting (March 14, 2014); DTC Information on the DATA Act