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Government reliance on private data collections leaves gap when information disappears – Colby Hochmuth: “By the end of the month, data collected on federal stimulus spending over the past five years will disappear from public view — not because the website, which always had an expiration date, will be gone, but because the government doesn’t own the data. Dun & Bradstreet does. The website tracks federal spending under the 2009 economic stimulus law through the unique identifier system called DUNS. But that license expires at the end of the month, and the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which monitors the spending, is not renewing it. So come Sept. 30, Dun & Bradstreet is taking its data and going home. And while this is a prominent example of what can happen when private companies own government data — the Washington Post highlighted the story last week — it’s hardly the only one. Critics say it points to a larger problem that is almost certain to happen again unless steps are taken to change the system.”

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