Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb is one of those reporting that the U.S. Federal Government’s data.gov site may become a victim of the current Budget squeeze afflicting Washington. Leading open data advocate Jim Hendler, Gartner’s Andrea DiMaio and Nathan Yau at FlowingData.com are other interested parties with comments on the issue. Recent local, regional and national initiatives to release Government data have attracted some headlines, and gathered a devoted band of data mungers who delight in extracting meaning from the most obscure official statistics. That band of transparency enthusiasts, though, really isn’t the point. Government data underpins a remarkable proportion of the services that we increasingly take for granted; weather, transit information, demographics, and more. All of these have Government data at their heart. As the opportunities to combine data that I discussed in this week’s update become ever-more mainstream, this really isn’t the time to even consider pulling the foundations away.