Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

It's Open Government Wednesday, And...

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, April 7 2010

Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

As we mentioned down-blog, today is that day that, under the Obama White House's Open Government Directive, each federal agency is required to release the first draft of open government plan that "will describe how it will improve transparency and integrate public participation and collaboration into its activities."

And frankly, it's a bit of a deluge of information that is going to take some time and teamwork to sort through. Not entirely helpful is that the White House's open government dashboard hasn't been updated with links or status notes on the agencies' plan release, though it does contain links to the "/Open" sites that each of them were required to put up at a prior milestone. Several of these plans, though, are in PDF, and others are in Word or other formats that take some time to comb.

Add to that the fact that agencies and those in the White House have chosen today to highlight a number of specific open government projects and initiatives to complement their plans. Over on the OMB blog, for example, director Peter Orszag blogs about a new requirement that directs agencies to adopt a "Regulation Identifier Number," or RIN, to track government documents throughout their lifecycles. "This seemingly small step will make it easier for members of the public to find and view all online information related to important rules — promoting public engagement in the rulemaking process." Then on the White House blogs, ethics point person Norm Eisen blogs about the release of the plans as part of a broader administration-wide outreach program that includes such things as the posting of White House visitor records.

Orszag and Eisen's posts are two good places to start to get more of a handle on Open Government Bonanza day. Stay tuned for more.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

GO

thursday >

NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

GO

More