Great editorial, and a great message to inspire IT people to do more volunteer work.
However, with regards to governmental data; there are already many databases out there that average Americans have easy access to and yet do not pay much attention to - even though our taxes pay for the creation and management of them. For example, the GAO website is a great place to go and see where your tax dollars are going, but how many people visit that site regularly? My guess is few overall.
"The power in knowledge is not in what you think you know, but in what you don't know." - B. Atkinson, Columbia Univ.
When it comes to data that might enlighten our populous about what our government is doing, the problem will always be getting people to view the data and think about what it says to them.
As much as I would advocate volunteerism utilizing IT skills we have gained, I would also advocate IT folks joining citizen organizations and helping others not in our field realize there are already places they can go to get very valuable core information about how our government spends our money, and what they spend it on. After all, we IT Wizards can build lots of fancy sites and data extracts - but if no one sees them or takes the time to assess their impact in their own lives - its basically like clapping with one hand.
There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...