A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that specifically targets open access to geospatial information. It intends to do this by nullifying a regulation under the Civil Rights Act of 1968 that provides open access to data that enabled the public to identify and monitor housing discrimination, patterns of of integration and segregation in housing.
The Civil Rights Act, signed into law by Lyndon Baines Johnson in April 1968, contains a provision (Title VIII commonly referred to as the Fair Housing Act of 1968) that prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and sex. Among other things the Act required the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to affirmatively further the goals of fair housing. In 2015 HUD published the "final rule" to provide clear guidelines on what fair housing and equal opportunity meant in practice. It also committed to providing the data necessary to measure compliance with the final rule. Specifically, to aid communities in assessing fair housing, HUD committed to providing "open data to grantees and the public on patterns of integration and segregation, racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, disproportionate housing needs, and disparities in access to opportunity."
On January 12 of this year a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, HR 482, that is intended to nullify the final rule on affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH). If enacted, the bill would require that "no Federal funds may be used to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing." Some see this not only as a first step in reducing the regulatory efficacy of the Civil Rights Act, but in restricting access to what has been open information, specifically, open geospatial information or maps of certain types.