May 23, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
AOPA is asking the FAA for a 45-day extension to the comment period on a proposed data distribution policy that will impact how the public accesses the agency’s data. The current comment period ends May 31.
In its May 1 Federal Register announcement, the FAA said this policy will ensure that the majority of data from its systems is exchanged through approved external protected boundaries. “This transition away from multiple direct connections to FAA systems will provide for the security and operational effectiveness of FAA systems and reduce the cost of developing and maintaining multiple interfaces needed to distribute data and information,” the agency wrote. “This transition will help FAA protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data/information, services, and to manage the cost of maintaining data and information services in the future.”
The proposed data distribution policy “is in accordance with the presidential directive for Open Government issued on January 21, 2009.” Memorandum M-10-06 from the Office of Management and Budget directs agencies to publish information online in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched by commonly used Web search applications, wrote Tom Kramer, AOPA manager of airspace and modernization in a May 23 letter to the FAA.
“The FAA’s proposed data distribution policy appears to contradict these principles by limiting access, distribution, and use of FAA data,” said Kramer. “AOPA would like to discuss how the FAA’s proposed data distribution policy aligns with the intent of the Open Government Directive.”
While AOPA generally understands the need to provide for secure and operational effectiveness of FAA systems through a National Airspace System Enterprise Secure Gateway (NESG), the proposed policy does not indicate exactly what data is impacted and the standard by which the FAA will allow access to that gateway, said Kramer. “The policy is vague about who will manage the gateway and what assurances exist to continue allowing access to all current data.”
The FAA’s proposed policy will not affect the Digital Chart Distribution Cost Recovery effort, nor does it appear to include data and information published via FAA websites, including the airmen and aircraft registry, weather, and notams.
AOPA is reviewing the proposed policy and studying how the policy will impact general aviation, said Kramer. The organization will also submit comments on the proposal and encourages members to do the same.
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