Informing Consumers through Smart Disclosure

Today, the White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), with support from ideas42, will host a summit on Smart Disclosure – a new tool that helps provide consumers with greater access to the information they need to make informed choices.

In many contexts, the Federal government uses disclosure as a way to ensure that consumers know what they are purchasing and are able to compare alternatives.  Consider nutrition facts labels, the newly designed automobile fuel economy labels, and  Modern technologies are giving rise to a series of new possibilities for promoting informed decisions.

In September 2011, the Office of Management and Budget issued guidance to Federal agencies on Smart Disclosure.  Smart disclosure refers to the timely release of complex information and data in standardized, machine readable formats in ways that enable consumers to make informed decisions. 

The Administration has also committed to promoting the use of Smart Disclosure in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, and in announcing the National Action Plan, the President specifically referred to Smart Disclosure. The National Science and Technology Council has established a task force dedicated to promoting better disclosure policies. And over the next year, departments and agencies will work to expand the use of Smart Disclosure to help consumers make more informed decisions in numerous domains.

The White House, NARA, and ideas42 summit will help advance that work. Leading innovators and experts inside and outside of government will share best practices and practical advice on how to use Smart Disclosure. And we hope their experiences will inspire and support agency efforts to integrate Smart Disclosure into their everyday work.

Cass Sunstein is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs  

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