February 23, 2017
Data Coalition News
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The latest: 
  • New: SEC to Vote on Mandatory Inline XBRL for Financial Filings
  • Three U.S. RegTech Predictions - and How To Track Them 
  • GSA Asks How to Break DUNS Monopoly
  • Financial Data Summit: Complimentary registration for government employees!

New: SEC to Vote on Mandatory Inline XBRL for Financial Filings

This afternoon (Feb. 23) the SEC announced that the Commissioners would meet on Thursday, March 1st to vote on adopting mandatory Inline XBRL for financial regulatory filings. 

This is a big win for advocates of open structured data in regulatory reporting.

The Data Coalition has been a long time supporter of the SEC adopting an open structured data format, like Inline XBRL. At the center of the Coalition's 2017 policy agenda is the Financial Transparency Act. The legislative proposal would require the SEC to adopt an open data structure for regulatory fillings. Stay tuned!

Want to explore this topic more? Join us at our Financial Data Summit on March 16 in D.C. Register here

Read the SEC's full announcement here

Three U.S. RegTech Predictions - and How To Track Them 

By Hudson Hollister, Executive Director of the Data Coalition

The U.S. government’s regulatory apparatus is the largest and most complex in the world. Where most countries get by with two financial regulatory agencies, we have nine, depending on how you count. Our most recent major change, the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, is over 2,300 pages long and required the agencies to issue more than 22,000 pages of regulations.

Complexity makes regulatory compliance expensive – both for the financial industry and for the agencies themselves.

Worse, complexity is a subsidy. The more complex the system, the greater the advantage for the largest banks, financial firms, and public companies, who are best able to afford compliance lawyers and consultants.

Complexity discourages founders. In 2000, 188 newly-founded banks received charters. In 2015, just one did. During the same period, initial public offerings fell from 381 to 117.

These trends are scary. New and growing companies produce most U.S. job growth.

Regulatory agencies frequently promise to simplify their rules and de-complexify the information that they collect from the private sector. Over the last three decades, my former agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, has formed at least four task forces to figure out how to simplify its rules for public companies. (I was on one of them.) Each task force produced a thick report full of recommended changes. (I drafted one of them.) But none of the reports has resulted in action.

Why do the SEC’s task forces keep failing? Why can’t our government simplify its regulatory structure, rules, and disclosures? Because every substantive change to the regulatory apparatus arouses political opposition. Most agencies, rules, and disclosure forms have some constituency depending on them. Getting rid of an agency, simplifying a rule, or modifying a disclosure form is very hard to do.

Fortunately, RegTech offers a way out.

Continue reading Hudson's GovLoop blog here

GSA Asks How to Break DUNS Monopoly

Dun & Bradstreet’s monopoly on federal grantee and contractor data may soon crumble.

Currently, the U.S. government has a government-wide contract with D&B to use its proprietary Digital Universal Numbering System (DUNS) to identify all grantees and contractors.

Because the DUNS Number is proprietary, non-governmental users of grant and contract information must purchase a license from D&B in order to download and use the data – even though this is public data, showing the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money.

Open data and proprietary standards don’t mix! Federal spending data simply cannot be fully open until we dump DUNS.

The federal government used to legally require the use of the DUNS Number. That barrier to freely-available assistance and procurement data fell last October, when the federal acquisition regulation was changed so it no longer forces every agency to require its grantees and contractors to identify themselves that way.

But the legal change didn’t fix the reality: the government-wide contract with D&B is still in effect.

Earlier this month (February 10, 2017), the General Services Administration, which manages the government-wide database of grantees and contractors and which administers the government-wide contract with D&B, released a Request for Information on alternatives to the DUNS Number.

The Request for Information asks interested parties to explain how the DUNS Number might be replaced with a non-proprietary standard – something freely reusable, rather than owned by a contractor.

Continue reading the Coalition's blog post here

Open Data on Groundhog Day: Policy Reforms Bring Tech Change … Slowly

By Hudson Hollister, Executive Director of the Data Coalition

On February 2, leaders from 22 tech companies fanned out across Capitol Hill. We crossed from Senate office buildings to House, and back again. We sat down with eight members of Congress and nine groups of staffers. We walked nearly ten miles. We ended our fourteen-hour day with a well-deserved beer.

This was my sixth Groundhog Day leading the Data Coalition. It resembled the previous five.

Our trade association wants the federal government to modernize its information. Open data must replace documents. Formats must replace forms. Companies and programs should be identified the same ways, across agencies. Separate systems should talk to each other. We started saying this in 2012.

Our mission statement is supremely wonky. Our ambitions aren’t.

By adopting standardized data fields and formats, we’ll make government information transparent to citizens and manageable for agencies. We’ll help companies automate their regulatory reports. We’ll cut compliance costs. We started saying this, too, in 2012.

The Obama Administration spent eight years issuing policy statements about modernizing the government’s information. That was a good thing.

But the really valuable information – the official spending records, the live regulatory reports, the master lists, the official text of bills and laws – hasn’t been modernized yet. Spending, regulation, and legislation are still documents; if open data versions exist, they’re just copies.

Often I hear of internal battles, within agencies, in which innovators who want to replace documents with open data are told ‘no’ – usually by lawyers. The only way to win an argument with lawyers is with law.

That is why Congress has to act. Congress has to require the federal government to express its information as open data, as a matter of law.

Continue reading the Coalition's blog post here


Socrata Connect, March 6-8: Join hundreds of state, local, and federal technologists for inspiration and insights into how data is solving government's most challenging problems. The event will be held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center.

Use the promo code DC-Connect for a complimentary pass for Data Coalition supporters. Register here.
Financial Data Summit 2017, March 16: Join us and Donnelley Financial Solutions for the third annual Financial Data Summit. The Summit is an all day event and will be held at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. Register here.

Note: Complimentary registration is offered to government employees. 

Featured speakers: 

  • Congressman Darrell Issa, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Richard Berner, Director, Office of Financial Research (OFR), U.S. Treasury Department
  • Justin Antonipillai, Former Counselor and Open Data Chief, Department of Commerce
  • Alan Deaton, Chief of the Data Strategy Section, Division of Insurance and Research, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Linda Powell, Chief Data Officer, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 
  • Stephan Wolf, Chief Executive Officer, Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF)
  • Tom Quaadman, Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness

The Financial Data Summit's main policy focus will be how U.S. regulatory entities can standardized data across their reporting regimes. 

Need accommodation for the Summit? The Data Coalition has rooms blocks available at the JW Marriott. Reserve your room here

Learn more about sponsorship opportunities here or contact


Data Coalition Members

Research Data Group
Donnelley Financial Solutions

Booz Allen Hamilton
MorganFranklin Consulting
StreamLink Software

Center for Organizational Excellence
CGI Federal
Elder Research
Grant Thornton
Information Builders
PR Newswire


Trade Association
Object Management Group 


About Us

The Data Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, open data.
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