Open Data Policy Collection

Suffolk County, NY

Administrative Policy (Jul 31, 2015)

View original policy (PDF)

Suffolk County

Open Data Policy

Resolution No 811-2014, Directing the Department of Information Technology to Develop Policy and Program to Facilitate Opening Data to the Public

1. Background

Suffolk County is committed to the principles of open, accessible, efficient and transparent government, and the use of technology to help put those principles into practice. In October 2014, the Suffolk County Legislature adopted, and the County Executive approved, Resolution No. 811-2014 in support of creating an open data policy.

2. Purpose of Policy

This policy creates a process for making County data available to the public online, using Open Standards as defined below. The County will devote its best efforts to make its data publicly available online to promote civic engagement, improve service delivery, allow for more effective communication with the public, and increase opportunities for economic development. This Policy is also intended to make the operation of County government more transparent, effective, and accountable to the public, and to allow the public to assist in identifying efficient solutions for government.

3. Definitions

“Data” means a final version or statistical and/or factual information in alphanumeric form which can be digitally transmitted and processed and is regularly created or maintained by a “County Department” as defined herein, and shall not include images or information protected by intellectual property laws.

“Data set” means a comprehensive collection of interrelated data that is not “Protected Data” as defined herein.

“County Department” means any Suffolk County department, agency, office, administrative unit, bureau, commission, board, committee or other division of government of the County.

“Department Open Data Coordinator” means the designee of each County Department head who interfaces with the Open Data Committee.

“Open Data” means data that can be freely used, re-used and republished by anyone without restrictions.

“Open Data Committee” means the open data committee group that is established pursuant to Resolution No. 811-2014.

“Open Data Committee Chairperson” means the person elected by the Open Data Committee to preside over the Open Data Committee.

“Information Technology” means the Department of Information Technology or its successor department.

“Protected data” means any data set, or portion thereof, exempt from disclosure pursuant to the N.Y. State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), or any other law or regulation.

“Public data” means any datum, or data, or data set published on the Suffolk County Open Data Portal, as further described herein.

“Open Standard” means a technical standard, developed and maintained by a voluntary consensus standards body, that is available to the public without royalty or fee.

“Voluntary Consensus Standards Body” means a domestic or international organization that develops and maintains a technical standard that utilizes a transparent deliberative process, permits the participation of any party, and achieves general consensus, although not necessarily unanimity, of the participating parties, including a process for attempting to resolve any differences in viewpoint.

4. Public Data Set Availability

(a) Each County Department shall, to the extent practicable, and with prior approval from the Open Data Committee, make available online, through the Open Data web Portal that is linked to or any successor website maintained by, or on behalf of, Suffolk County, all appropriate data sets and associated metadata under such Department’s control.

(b) Such public data sets shall be made available in accordance with technical standards published by Information Technology, approved by the Open Data Committee, pursuant to section 9(a) of this policy, and shall be in a format that permits automated processing.

(c) Such public data sets shall be updated as often as is practicable to maintain their usefulness.

(d) All such public data sets shall be made publically accessible with the exception of data sets that contain personally identifiable information or as otherwise provided herein.

(e) Measures may be taken by the County to restrict access in order to protect the Open Data Portal from unlawful abuse or attempts to damage or impair use of the web site.

5. Open Data Committee

As per Resolution No. 811-2014, an Open Data Committee is established to develop the County’s open data policy, implement an open data program, and guide future County data policy, as needed. The Open Data Committee shall work with Department Open Data Coordinators from all departments.

6. Administration of Open Data Portal

The Suffolk County Open Data Portal shall be administered by Information Technology. Information technology shall: (i) catalogue and post on the portal a list of all data sets available on such portal; and (ii) establish and maintain on the portal an online forum to solicit feedback from the public and to encourage public discussion on open data policies and data set availability.

7. Annual Open Data Report

Information Technology shall issue a written report to the County Executive and each member of the County Legislature on an annual basis, effective one year after the effective date of the law, on the use of the Open Data Portal. The report shall include a list and description of all Public Data available and recommendations on the continued and/or expanded publication of data sets to the public.

8. Open Data Policy Terms of Use

(a) The Suffolk County Open Data Portal, and all public data contained on such portal, shall be subject to Terms of Use developed by Information Technology. Such Terms of Use shall be posted by Information Technology in a conspicuous place on the Suffolk County Open Data Portal.

(b) The County shall reserve the right to discontinue availability of content on the Suffolk County Open Data Portal at any time and for any reason. If a data set is made accessible by a County Department on the Suffolk County Open Data Portal and such County Department is notified or otherwise learns that any data set or portion thereof posted on the data portal is factually inaccurate or misleading or is protected data, the County Department shall, as appropriate, promptly correct or remove, or cause to be corrected or removed, such data from the data portal and shall so inform the chairperson of the open data advisory group.

9. Internet Data Set Policy and Technical Standards

(a) Information Technology shall prepare and publish a technical standards manual for the publishing of public data sets in raw or unprocessed form through a single open web portal by County Departments for the purpose of making public data available to the greatest number of users and for the greatest number of applications and shall, whenever practicable, use open standards for web publishing and e-government. Such manual shall identify the reason(s) each technical standard was selected, to which types of data it applies, and may recommend or require that data be published in more than one technical standard. The manual shall include a plan to adopt or utilize a web application programming interface that permits application programs to request and receive public data sets directly from the web portal. Such manual shall be updated by Information Technology as deemed necessary by the Open Data Committee.

(b) Information Technology shall consult with voluntary consensus standards bodies and shall, when such participation is feasible, in the public interest, and compatible with agency and departmental missions, authorities and priorities, participate with such bodies in the development of technical and open standards.

10. The Open Data Handbook

Information Technology shall prepare and publish an electronic Open Data Handbook that is intended as a guide for County Departments as well as the public. The Open Data Handbook shall provide guidelines for identifying, reviewing and prioritizing data for publication.

11. Enforcement Standards and Compliance

The Chairperson of the Open Data Committee shall have the authority to promulgate reasonable rules and regulations to implement the requirements of the Open Data Policy.

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