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Splunk Launches Open Data Analytics For Regulations.gov To Answer President Obama’s Call To Harness The Power Of Open Data

Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK), the leading software platform for real-time operational intelligence, today announced eRegulations Insights, a Splunk4Good project utilizing federal open data to collect and analyze data on public comments submitted through Regulations.gov, the portal for Federal rulemaking. eRegulations Insights was developed in response to President Obama’s Open Government Initiative and his call for technology leaders to help harness the power of open data. eRegulations Insights is a set of online public dashboards and visualizations designed to help decipher the tone of public response to regulations and legislative proposals, recognize issues of concern within public responses and identify primary influencers who are mobilizing public engagement around proposals. eRegulations Insights was developed on Splunk® Enterprise and is available now at http://eregulations.splunk4good.com.

“The cutting edge data technologies developed by innovative American companies are enabling citizens to better understand and manage the tidal wave of digital data now available to them,” said Suzanne Iacono, Deputy Assistant Director of Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at the National Science Foundation and co-Chair of the NITRD Big Data Senior Steering Group. “We are pleased that companies are leveraging open government data sources such as Regulations.gov to further promote the civic process. The innovative tools they develop can help improve access for citizens, thereby strengthening the dialogue between government and citizen.”

Splunk4Good, the social responsibility initiative at Splunk, developed eRegulations Insights in response to the Data to Knowledge to Action initiative led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). eRegulations Insights includes visualizations for specific agencies, regulatory proposals, volume of public comment by agency and significant influencers. Many of these metrics have never before been easily available to the public or regulators. eRegulations Insights includes more than 1.1 million public comments gathered from January 1, 2012 onward and is updated daily as new comments are made available. Project findings include:

  • More than 356,000 comments were received in the first quarter of 2014, compared with 408,476 comments for all of 2013 and 372,525 in 2012.
  • Public interest campaigns have driven significant traffic in 2014, including two regulations that account for more than 70 percent of all comments.
    • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has received more than 40 percent (143,516) of all comments in 2014 for “ Guidance for Tax-Exempt Social Welfare Organizations on Candidate-Related Political Activities”. Online influencers for this regulation were found to be coordinated campaigns via Facebook and the American Families Council.
    • The Department of State has received more than one-third of all comments in 2014 (118,591) about the National Interest Determination for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline. Online influencers for this regulation are actually indicators of offline activity, in this case a blog about lobbying firm BKM Strategies that drove nearly 92,000 public comments.
  • Nearly forty percent of all comments since 2012 were driven by just three issues: Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act, Guidance for Tax Exempt Social Welfare Organizations on Candidate Related Political Activities, and National Interest Determination for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline.
  • The National Park Service receives the highest positive sentiment score of any federal agency.

“eRegulations Insights builds on the success of organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation to free open data, promote public participation and help agencies uncover constructive feedback on specific issues,” said Stephen Sorkin, chief strategy officer, Splunk. “As governments grapple with how best to enhance citizen participation and improve transparency, providing similar access to other open data sets could have a transformative impact on government at all levels. Regulators and citizens alike can empower themselves with data-driven debate, and we hope eRegulations Insights can help show just how powerful a little more transparency can really be.”

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