In 2015, the federal government spent nearly half of a trillion dollars on contracts with private companies—$436,668,103,830, to be exact.
Members of the public are free to drill down into this data and track funding going to specific businesses, thanks to a series of policies designed to increase government transparency and accountability by treating information about government spending as open data—machine readable, timely and freely available online.
However, federal contracting policy requires the use of a specific proprietary data standard to keep track of entities receiving federal funds.
Known as the Data Universal Numbering System, or DUNS, the current standard was developed by business information reporting company Dun & Bradstreet. And therein lies a problem: Not only is the use of a proprietary standard antithetical to the principle of an open and transparent government, as it limits the usability and accessibility of the data, but the government has already recognized that requiring the use of DUNS grants Dun & Bradstreet a monopoly on data that uses DUNS numbers, reducing competition and increasing costs.
Fortunately, the General Services Administration, the Defense Department and NASA have recently proposed to amend federal contracting policy to eliminate the requirement to use DUNS, which would make data on government spending more transparent and usable by the government and the public alike.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/tech-insider/2016/01/us-government-making-it-possible-dump-duns/125293/