US FOIA Advisory Committee recommends agencies harmonize FOIA and open data programs

Yesterday, the United States Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee met at the National Archives in Washington and approved a series of recommendations that would, if implemented, dramatically improve public access to public information. And in May, it will consider … Continue reading

Department of Justice Quietly Answers Senate Questions on FOIA Regression

During Sunshine Week in March 2019, members of the Senate Judiciary sent a letter to the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) that asked for information about the state of the Freedom of Information Act, noting a lack of … Continue reading

Digital technologies are disrupting democracies, for both good and ill

Elon University and Pew Research Center asked experts what the impact of digital disruption will be upon democracy in 2030: Perspectives differ! About half predicted that humans will use technology to weaken democracy over the next decade, with concerns grounded … Continue reading

GREAT Act News: Open Federal Grant Data Is The Default In The USA

Congress has quietly made an open, license-free identifier for the recipients of federal grants the default option for agencies in the United States. While truly open grant data is not mandatory, every agency must now decide whether to use non-proprietary … Continue reading

The US government should preserve the social media histories of officials, not delete them

This week, a new Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took the oath of office, but not the access credentials for @FDACommissioner on Twitter. Instead, Dr. Stephen M. Hahn began tweeting at @SteveFDA, after FDA staff changed the … Continue reading

US FOIA Advisory Committee considers recommendations to part the rising curtains of secrecy

Government secrecy, as measured by censorship or non-responsiveness under the Freedom of Information Act, is at an all-time high during the Trump administration. The Freedom of Information Act is getting worse under Trump for a variety of reasons. Continued secrecy … Continue reading

Snapchat’s political ad disclosure once again shows the limits of self-regulation

Like Google, Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat now has an online political ad library. That’s good news: every technology company that accept money to run issues and campaign ads should have a political ad file – particularly one that has aspirations … Continue reading

How federal agencies can make better /open government webpages

Under President Donald J. Trump, the American government has moved back from being more open to more closed, as Congressional hearings and watchdogs have documented since January 2017. The Trump administration has undermined trust in both government and the press. … Continue reading