Government entities are more and more interested in using big data to solve a whole series of problems, create greater efficiencies and save money. As this article indicates however, there are some serious obstacles remaining that make the effective use of big data by government difficult. Obstacles discussed include the lack of qualified personnel to analyze data, the profusion of unstructured data, the difficulty of combining it with structured data and the need to forge agreements between and among diverse public (or even between public and private collectors of data) in order to combine diverse data sources. One example of the synergies that could be realized by such agreements is the combination of car theft data with weather data that revealed to the Memphis Police Department that more cars were stolen when it was raining. Despite these obstacles however, there can be little doubt that governments at all levels must engage more with data in order to drive more effective decision making so the drive to accumulate, store, access and analyze big data will only become more urgent as time goes on.