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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: August 7, 2019 01:21 PM
From: Representative Dan L. Miller
To: All House members
Subject: Public Data Transparency Act

State and local governments and other public entities hold a vast amount of data about citizens. Currently in Pennsylvania, it is legal for public entities to contract with third party vendors to collect, store and/or sell public data.

I believe it is prudent to have public entities disclose their contracts with their chosen third-party vendors to the public, of which they serve, and whose data they are essentially mining.

To do this in the most streamlined way possible, I intend to introduce legislation that amends Act 18 of 2011, commonly known as “PennWATCH” (the Pennsylvania Web Accountability and Transparency Act) to add the sale and use of personal nonpublic information as a required disclosure on the PennWATCH searchable public website (http://pennwatch.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx ).

In addition, public entities must include the following information online:
  • Who the third-party entity is;
  • Whether it can share data with another party;
  • Whether it can sell the data or use it for its own commercial purposes;
  • What data sets it has access to; and
  • Whether the public entity receives any compensation in any form in relation to allowing that data access and usage and if so, how much.
PennWATCH was created to give the public access to state and local government spending, revenue, employees and performance. I believe the addition of third-party vendor contracts as it applies to public data is a natural fit to PennWATCH and its mission for open, transparent and responsive government.

Please consider co-sponsoring this legislation.

View Attachment

Introduced as HB1792