Obama: Technology Will Make Health Insurance Transparent

Meghan Foley | Wall St. Cheat Sheet | July 9, 2013

President Barack Obama signed an executive order in May that made all federal data freely accessible in a form that can be used by software developers, which has come to be known as “machine-readable format.” The president, along with senior technology adviser Todd Park and Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel, made the decision as part of efforts to catalyze new industries in energy, education, security, and the nonprofit sector with new open data guidelines.

The mission has an objective reminiscent of former President Ronald Reagan’s decision to release the government’s satellite data to digital cartographers. After Korean Airlines Flight 007 was shot down over Soviet airspace in 1983, Reagan thought it would be strategic for airlines to be able to locate any plane in real time.

The unintended consequence of that move was GPS, which powers everything from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps to Yelp (NYSE:YELP) to an untold number of smartphone apps. [...]