During its summit in Northern Ireland, the G8 issued a declaration and signed an Open Data Charter on June 18, stating their intent to promote machine readable and publicly-available government data. The focus of the document echoes much of what is found in the Open Data Policy published by the White House May 9, and a U.K. strategy published June 2012. The endorsement from Russia, however, is more of a surprise.
Agencies should start assigning unique identification numbers to financial assistance awards such as grants to state and local governments and non-profit organizations – something they've already done for decades with contract awards – says a June 12 memo from the Office of Management and Budget.
Federal spending data systems have improved in recent years but still come up short in their efforts to fully inform the public on government spending, says a June 6 brief from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
An annual Justice Department Office of Information Policy report on agency Freedom of Information Act request processing shows mixed results when it comes to records releases. Data in the report also shows a decrease over the past 2 years in the percentage of completely unredacted records and an increase in the number of redacted records.
Under the new policy, agencies must build and modernize information systems in a way that "maximizes interoperability and information accessibility, maintains internal and external data asset inventories, enhances information safeguards, and clarifies information management responsibilities," says the memo.
The government should set up a steering committee to reform how federal documents are classified, 31 public interest organizations wrote in a letter (.pdf) to President Obama. A presidentially-appointed steering committee would provide a mechanism for identifying and coordinating needed changes and for overcoming internal agency resistance to change, it adds.
Opponents of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act and government transparency advocates are calling on the House Intelligence Committee to hold a public markup of the bill when it comes before the committee next week – although committee staff the nature of the committee hearing prevents public entry or recording.
Federal agencies should treat the identities of Freedom of Information Act requesters with the same privacy protections as librarians extend to patrons, argues an City University of New York law school academic.
The Department of Justice is using metadata in its effort to improve public access to government documents through the Freedom of Information Act. Using metadata to tag information will allow citizens to easily look up FOIA documents with a simple keyword search, either directly through a government site such as FOIA.gov, or through an Internet browser, a DOJ statement reported.
In 2012, agencies processed more than half a million FOIA requests, but they only released information with no redactions in 41 percent of requests, according to the report, released March 13. It drew on data from 25 major federal agencies, including most cabinet-level departments.