The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit http://foiadvocate.blogspot.com/.
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December 21, 2016 5:39 PM

 

More than 4,000 people gathered in Paris from 7-9th December for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit 2016 hosted by the Government of France. OGP is a unique partnership dedicated to making government decision making more open, inclusive and responsive. Summit attendees included representatives from 80 governments, many of them heads of state and senior ministers; leaders from cities, municipalities and regions; and leading civil society organizations from around the world.

The goal for the summit was to highlight the crucial role of open government as a countervailing force to the rise of various forms of nationalism and populism around the world. Although open government alone can’t solve this and other global challenges such as extreme poverty, climate change and mass migration, these problems can’t be solved without greater transparency and civic participation.
To that end, the summit yielded outcomes that can help reshape the future of open government and combat threats to democracy around the world.

Read full article here.

open government
December 21, 2016 5:22 PM

oday announced the general availability of its new Freedom Archive product -- designed to cost-effectively manage, store and access archive data from any cloud and any location. Freedom Archive is perfect for long-term management, storage and access of surveillance video, healthcare imaging, seismic data, life sciences information, and other valuable data. Today, customers such as Chevron, American College of Radiology, NBC Universal, Time Warner Cable, and multiple law enforcement agencies use Freedom Archive as their high performance, active archive solution.

Freedom Archive eliminates the need to store less frequently accessed data on expensive primary or secondary storage from vendors like NetApp or EMC or transfer it to more traditional archiving methods such as tape or optical disk. Instead, Freedom Archive combines the benefits of high-performance local cache for high speed, on demand access to important data with the economics and limitless capacity of cloud storage to make archiving of petabytes of data dramatically simpler, faster and less expensive.

Read full article here.

December 21, 2016 5:15 PM

Open data is data that can be used and re-distributed freely, by anyone. It extends to multiple sectors, such as weather, education, traffic and real estate. While there are many programs that look to help startups and scale-ups in North America, ODX Ventures looks to raise awareness of open data by focusing on businesses that use open data for commercial purposes.

“The ODX Ventures program provides us an opportunity to take advantage of the many business benefits open data provides,” said Jim Moss, Chief Happiness Officer at Plasticity Labs. “For Plasticity Labs in particular, it’ll help us gain a deeper understanding of what other factors impact people’s happiness in the workplace and across the rest of their lives."

Read full article here.

December 21, 2016 5:10 PM

law firm representing law enforcement agencies across the state has issued advice to at least several of the agencies that they have the right to withhold many records from public view, including agency budgets, payroll, contracts and inventory.

An attorney for Oklahoma City-based Collins, Zorn & Wagner cited as a basis for refusing to release such records, as well as case documents, a portion of the state Open Records Act that lists law enforcement records subject to public disclosure. Attorney Ammon Brisolara said if a document is not specifically listed in the statute, the law enforcement agency doesn’t have to make it public.

The list of records under the law enforcement section of the Open Records Act is increasingly being cited by agencies to deny requests for public records, said Joey Senat, a journalism professor at Oklahoma State University and a board member of Freedom of Information Oklahoma, which advocates for transparency in government.

Read full article here.

December 21, 2016 5:04 PM

The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled against the City of Davenport over Iowa Open Records Act violations and remanded a case back to Scott County District Court.

In 2015, the Scott County District Court ruled against Dr. Allen Diercks and Patricia Lane after they alleged Davenport had ignored Freedom of Information Act requests and signed contracts with Deloitte & Touche without City Council approval during the city's attempt to purchase the Rhythm City Casino.

The Court of Appeals analyzed the city's obligations to produce four items: Deloitte & Touche due diligence work product, a February 2013 invoice, the Deloitte Scope of Services document and a Jan. 9, 2013 legal memorandum from the city's legal consultant John Hintze.

Read full article here.

December 21, 2016 4:54 PM

Cloud storage giant Box won't say how many times it has turned over customer data to the government.

The company's policy stands out from the cloud storage crowd, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Dropbox, which along with other every internet and phone company in the Fortune 500, provide a biannual transparency report detailing the number of government requests and secret orders they receive.

A spokesperson for Box confirmed that the company doesn't issue a transparency report, adding that government requests for customer data is "strictly limited to the extent mandated and required by applicable law."

Read full article here.

December 16, 2016 3:56 PM

The easiest way to explain civic technology? Open up the OneBusAway app on your smartphone.

OneBusAway gives users real-time transit info. So, the next time you’re at the bus stop wondering how long you need to wait, you can just tap the OneBusAway app and it will tell you the number of minutes accurately and instantaneously.

Kari Watkins and Brian Ferris, the University of Washington grads who created OneBusAway, took open government data and built a user-friendly mobile app interface. The app is a perfect example of civic technology, as it serves as an intermediary between the public and confusing, difficult-to-access government information.

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December 16, 2016 3:52 PM

data.world today announced that it has partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to launch Data.mil, a new experiment in Defense Open Data created by the Defense Digital Service (DDS) in collaboration with data owners throughout the U.S. military.

Unveiled today by the Pentagon, Data.mil makes open data available in a searchable, machine-readable, downloadable format. Through its partnership with data.world, Data.mil also offers a collaborative workspace for this groundbreaking dataset to invite and facilitate collaboration, targeted analysis and discussion.

Hosted at data.world/datamil and accessible through Data.mil, the new data.world workspace organizes key open military datasets within a dynamic, social environment. This makes it easy for journalists, subject matter experts, data scientists, and everyday citizens to discuss, analyze, query, visualize, and easily share their findings.

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December 16, 2016 3:46 PM

House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams defended a recent decision to hold a closed-door caucus meeting while outlining the procedure that could be used in the future, in a Wednesday meeting with members of the Capitol Hill press corps.

Defending last week's decision, Williams, R-Cookeville, said he has every intention of giving the press every opportunity to be in the meetings but added, "I do believe there is a time and a place where we have to have the ability to communicate personally with one another."

The move by the House GOP for a closed-door discussion was a departure from the past and is out of step with the Senate, which has historically held open meetings.

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December 15, 2016 6:20 PM

A newly-formed group is demanding that the Greensboro City Council release all remaining documents in a police misconduct case.

About two dozen members of GSO Operation Transparency, which identifies itself as a “multiracial, intergenerational group of concerned Greensboro residents,” said Tuesday that it wants the full investigative file and all relating written and electronic correspondence in the case of former Greensboro Police Officer Travis Cole released by noon on Jan. 11.

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December 15, 2016 6:16 PM

The House in September passed a series of bills that would have extended FOIA to the Governor and put the legislature under a mostly-parallel "Legislative Open Records Act."

The bipartisan effort was led by Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield. But in the Senate the bills were referred to the Committee on Government Operations, controlled by Meekhof. And he won't be bringing them up this session, a spokesperson confirmed.

Moss said he was seeking more partners and wants to reconsider the topic next year.

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December 15, 2016 6:14 PM

The North Carolina General Assembly called its fourth special session of the year Wednesday afternoon. A regulatory reform bill filed in the House would create a new exemption for certain information held by the public utility comission, expand two other existing exemptions related to personal information and would significantly change how government agencies can provide access to public records. A separate bill would exempt photographs of people who have been arrested. A third would exempt certain information about community association managers.

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