Yesterday, the White House hosted an “Open Government Workshop” in Washington, DC, a portion of which was livestreamed at though whitehouse.gov. The workshop was the kickoff event for planning the third United States Open Government National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership.
Archived video is embedded below, including remarks from Megan Smith, the U.S. chief technology officer, Gayle Smith, a special assistant to the President and senior director at the National Security Council, and Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor. T
Some of the participants in the workshop shared pictures of the event coupled with brief observations on Twitter, but little of substance regarding the participants or the outcomes of their discussions has been released to the public to date.
Editor’s Note: Where social media falls short of sunshine
Ironically, given that the event took place during Sunshine Week, the open government workshop was not open to the public or the press. While a user of the White House open government Twitter account encouraged its followers to “share ideas” and “keep the dialogue going,” the choice to use the #SunshineWeek hashtag effectively meant that the backchannel for the event was swamped with news of the White House’s decision to officially remove a regulation that subjected its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act, the news of which broke on Freedom of Information Day in the United States. The administration’s legal reasoning is based upon a 2009 federal court decision that ruled the office was not subject to FOIA. In the Federal Register notice of the final rule, the administration hold that “The Office of Administration, as an entity whose sole function is to advise and assist the President of the United States, is not an agency under the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act of 1974, nor does its implementation of Executive Order 13526 affect members of the public.”
The White House indicated that they will “absolutely” share more info about the workshop in the future.
UPDATE: OpenTheGovernment.org is helping to coordinate the public-facing aspect of the civil society consultation. They’re asking the public to contribute to a model National Action Plan. You can learn more and, after reading the guidelines, submit your own commitment online.