National Weather Service in dispute over privatization of mobile app development

NWS employees unhappy with suspension of inhouse work on mobile apps

The National Weather Service is in a dispute with its own employees over whether the service has gone too far in promoting the privatization of weather-related applications using federal data.

NWS leadership put out a memo in December suspending staff development of mobile applications because the private sector development of such apps has been robust and many of the offerings have been available to the public at little or no charge, according to a Jan. 9 article by Andrew Freedman in the Washington Post.

However, Dan Sobien, director of the National Weather Service Employees Union, said that the agency should not be quick to give up development of mobile applications because distributing weather data to the public is one of its core missions. That mission eventually could be hampered if the public needs to sign into, and pay for, access to critical weather data through private mobile apps, the argument goes.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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