An API Driven Government Regulatory Framework

I wrote a piece yesterday on the FCC Open Commission recent proposal to require that television stations make their “public inspection file” available online called, “Opening Up Information is Not Enough, Its Needs to be Accessible”.

Since writing I’ve been thinking about how APIs can become a self-service tool in government regulation. Here are my rough thoughts on the subject, completely un-polished.

When a government agency mandates that an industry provide some information, along with that request should come with a mandate on a standard for the data format and making it accessible via an API.  Of course this could come with some sort of security layer, so not everything is immediately open, but the more open the better.

Along with the regulatory mandate the requesting agency could have some sort of aggregate tool for pull the requested data from each entities API, making available internally and externally as needed for other agencies, researchers or the general public.

This type of self-service, API driven, regulatory framework could force businesses and organizations within an industry to comply with necessary information requirements, reduce the overhead for the governing body to collect and organize the data, while also opening up the data, to allow the public and other industry groups to police and make sure companies are complying.

Seems like it could make the overall process around industry regulation more efficient, while putting the responsibility for policing on the public and other public interest groups, reducing the need for government enforcement that can often be bought.