Culture jeopardizes open data’s future beyond Obama — panelists

The problem with opening data is often a cultural one — not a technical one — a panel of open data experts said Monday at the AWS Public Sector Summit.

As the public sector prepares for a change in administration, experts are looking to codify Obama’s open data strategy in a way that survives the transition. Meanwhile, agencies are still fighting against an internal work culture that is averse to open data, panelists said. Continue…


The Obama Administration’s Newly Political Approach to FOIAs

At the Treasury Department, the memo came down from the deputy executive secretary, Wally Adeyemo, in December of 2009. Going forward, the memo stated, “sensitive information” requested under the Freedom of Information Act was to be reviewed not only by career FOIA officials but also by a committee of political appointees, including Adeyemo and representatives from the public-affairs, legislative-affairs, and general counsel’s office, before release.


Editorial: We need to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act

President Barack Obama routinely promises to provide greater transparency within the federal government. Now, Congress is making strides toward achieving this critical goal.

The House of Representatives and Senate are considering nearly identical bills to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, which provides the general public, including journalists, with access to federal government records.


U.S. releases report on NSA’s call collection program

The Obama administration on Saturday unveiled a 6-year-old report examining a once-secret program to collect information on Americans’ calls and e-mails, as debate gears up over the coming expiration of a Bush-era surveillance law.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the redacted report following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times. The basics of the National Security Agency program had already been declassified, but the lengthy report includes some new details.


Opinion: Obama administration agrees with Sunlight: Agencies should disclose what data they keep private

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted updated guidance to the Project Open Data Github for agencies as they continue to compile indexes of their data holdings. Agencies are now instructed to “Include all ‘non-public’ data assets in their PDL [Public Data Listing], in addition to the ‘public’ and ‘restricted’ data assets that have long been required.” It also tells agencies to fully explain the reasons for "non-public" designations and redactions in the metadata.