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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Big Data Project (BDP)

The VIIRS satellite sensor alone currently produces over 2 terabytes of data daily, and the launch of the next-generation GOES-R satellite in 2016 promises to add another 3.5 terabytes each day. (Photo by NASA/NOAA) 

Blog Post by
David McClure and Maia Hansen

On April 21st 2015, NOAA and the Department of Commerce announced that they had entered into Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM, Microsoft, and the Open Cloud Consortium. Under these agreements, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its collaborators will research and explore new ways to enable the use of NOAA data, furthering the Department of Commerce's goals of improving decision-making by government, industry, and citizens; growing the economy; and creating jobs. The CRADAs provide a cooperative research environment where the collaborators and NOAA can work together with the help of data alliances, representative ecosystems of value-added providers and data customers that are organized around each participating cloud provider and share an interest in the use of NOAA’s data. A previous blog: "NOAA’s Data Heads for the Clouds," describes the business model in greater detail.

Each of the CRADAs signed with the five anchor collaborators is identical. By working under the shared language of this CRADA, NOAA establishes a level playing field that both protects the public’s interest in the data, which is a public good created with tax dollars, and allows private sector competitors to work in parallel to reduce the technical barriers and cost of efficient access to NOAA’s vast data portfolio. A copy of the CRADA can be found here.

In its text, the CRADA creates a framework within which the collaborators can explore and test the technical, business, and operational challenges of expanding data access. The CRADA contains NOAA’s standard research agreement language, which forms the skeleton of this framework, as well as defining the specific goals of the collaboration and the guidelines within which NOAA and the collaborators can innovate to achieve these goals. The CRADA is designed to allow the collaborators, their data alliances, and NOAA to focus on harvesting the public and private benefits locked up in NOAA’s data, without unnecessarily limiting or predefining the solution space. NOAA shares the excitement of the open government data community about what might emerge from this research project.

Maia Hansen is a Presidential Innovation Fellows based at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and David McClure is a NOAA employee in the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Publishes the 2015 Executive Order 13636 Privacy and Civil Liberties (P/CL) Assessment Report

Blog by
Joey Hutcherson, TPM, PMP, CIPP/G
Deputy Director, Office of Privacy and Open Government

The national and economic security of the United States (U.S.) depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure.  To strengthen the resilience of this infrastructure, President Obama issued Executive Order 13636 (E.O.) – Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, dated February 12, 2013.

The E.O. directs federal departments and agencies to establish, expand, or prioritize a number of activities to improve cybersecurity for the U.S. critical infrastructure, including the development of a framework (the “Cybersecurity Framework”) to reduce cybersecurity risks to critical infrastructure and to assist organizations responsible for critical infrastructure services with managing cybersecurity risk.

Section 5 of the E.O. requires department and agency Senior Agency Officials for Privacy and Civil Liberties (SAOP/CL) to incorporate privacy and civil liberties protection into all activities performed under the E.O., and to conduct assessments of those activities based on Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) and other applicable policies, principles and frameworks.

For the reporting period August 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014, the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Chief Privacy Officer (CPO)/ Senior Agency Official for Privacy (SAOP) completed a privacy assessment examining the “Cybersecurity Framework” development activities performed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  

The DOC CPO/SAOP submitted the DOC Assessment of Commerce activities under the E.O. to DHS to incorporate into the DHS E.O. 13636 P/CL Assessment Report.

On April 9, 2015, DHS published the DHS E.O. 13636 P/CL Assessment Report.  The DOC assessment is Part V (page 122) of the 2015 report.  The report can be found at

The 2014 DHS E.O. 13636 P/CL Assessment Report can be found at  The DOC assessment is Part V (page 92) of the 2014 report.

Open Government Directive Benchmarks

The White House's Open Government Directive requires Cabinet-level agencies, such as the Department of Commerce, to pass certain milestones as part of our efforts to be more open and transparent. The timeline below details the specific benchmarks we're moving toward, and shows the Department's progress in achieving them.

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45 days—January 22, 2010

  • Completed: Designate a high-level senior official to be accountable for Federal spending information publicly disseminated (Date Completed: 1/22/2010)
  • Completed: Identify and publish online, in an open format, at least three high-value data sets (Date Completed: 1/22/2010)

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60 days—February 6, 2010

  • Completed: Launch the Commerce Open Government Website at, to provide ways for the public to find information and provide feedback on the data sets, our FOIA process, and the Commerce Open Government Plan (Date Completed: 2/5/2010)
  • Completed: Provide contact information for Commerce's designated Open Government representative and create Commerce Open Government email account, (Date Completed: 2/5/2010)
  • Completed: Launch the Citizen Engagement Tool,, to solicit feedback and ideas (Date Completed: 2/5/2010)

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120 days—April 7, 2010

  • Completed: Select Commerce Open Government Team and begin meeting (Date Completed: 1/08/2010)
  • Completed: Release First Draft template for the Commerce Open Government Plan (Date Completed: 3/12/2010)
  • Completed: Solicit public feedback for the Commerce Open Government Plan (Date Completed: 3/20/2010)
  • Completed: Integrate public feedback for the Commerce Open Government Plan (Date Completed: 4/2/2010)
  • Completed: Publish Commerce Open Government Plan on Commerce Open Government website (Date Completed: 4/7/2010)