GovAPI Act Would Provide Interface for Digital Requests and Submission for All Government Information As Proposed by City Council Member Kallos

05/10/2017
GovAPI Act Would Provide Interface for Digital Requests and Submission for All Government Information As Proposed by City Council Member Kallos

Private and Nonprofit Sectors Could Build Apps to Innovate Government
 
 
New York, NY – Long lines, hold music and bureaucratic forms could soon be replaced by an app for that as the private sector innovates government thanks to new legislation (Int.1594) introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos that would require that all information received or transmitted by city government to be available through an Application Program Interface (API).
 
“Government, there should be an app for that. We need to build an API for government, so that the private sector can innovate and bring government into the 21st century. New Yorkers should be able to use government services as simply as new apps deliver food or a car when you need one,” said New York City Council Member Ben Kallos a free and open source software developer.
 
Any time a paper form, an operator, or website requests information like a name, email, income, or other details that information could just as easily be provided by an app through an API. Similarly, anytime the city shares information on whether you qualified for public benefits, are registered to vote, or owe taxes that could just as easily be provided by an app through an API. An Application Programming Interface or API provides a set of definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software, or in general terms, it provides a translation dictionary for different software to communicate to make it easier for developers to program new applications.
 
Int. No. 1594
 
By Council Member Kallos
 
A LOCAL LAW
 
To amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to open application program interfaces
 
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
 
Section 1. Chapter 2 of title 23 of the administrative code of the city of New York is 1 amended to add a new section 23-202, to read as follows:
§ 23-202 Open application program interfaces. 
a. Any information, including both text in a narrative form and data as defined in section 23-501, posted online or otherwise made available electronically to the public by an agency shall also be made available through a web application program interface that permits programs to request and receive such information directly from a city web portal.
b. Any non-emergency city services for which intake information is accepted from the public by phone, paper form, web application or mobile application, including but not limited to 311, shall also permit such intake to be made through a web application program interface that permits programs to transmit such information directly to a city web portal.
c. Any public data sets posted to the single web portal pursuant to chapter five of this title shall be exempted from the requirements of this section.
d. The department of information technology and telecommunications shall post in a single portal on the city website information on how to utilize each of the web application program interfaces required pursuant to subdivisions a and b of this section, including both plain language descriptions and technical details. Such portal shall also include a listing of the application program interfaces available pursuant to subdivisions a and b, the endpoint for each such application program interface, and, for those required pursuant to subdivision a, a description of the information contained therein.
 
§ 2. This local law takes effect one year after enactment.
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