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Change.gov is Back Online

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, July 30 2013

Change.gov, a relic of President Barack Obama's first term which listed promised new directions for the federal government, is back online.

It had been inaccessible for several days, prompting transparency advocates to observe that with it went a record of the Obama administration's promises on openness and to bolster protection of whistleblowers.

John Wonderlich from the Sunlight Foundation* noted the return of the site in a blog post, and pointed out that all the original language, including parts referring to whistleblower protection, was once more accessible, making it "a useful resource for comparing candidate Obama's vision against his administration's work."

"Removing government information from the Internet is too often treated as an administrative task, or an exercise in efficiency, even though government websites clearly also serve as a symbols for political priorities and an important part of our public discourse," Wonderlich wrote. "It's unfortunate that our government doesn't view its online footprint with as much reverence as the Internet Archive, whose public utility would be very hard to overstate."

Wonderlich's original post, titled "Obama Promises Disappear from Web," had received a lot of attention, as he tweeted yesterday, "apparently touched a nerve, writing about http://Change.gov as a 404: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2013/07/25/obama-promises-disappear-from-web/ … (2.4k tweets, etc)."

The post also has over 6,000 Facebook likes or shares.

What prompted the site's return is, for now, as unknown as the reason for its original disappearance. Was all of this the result of something as simple as a server error?

A spokesperson for the federal General Services Administration has not responded to a request for comment.

* TechPresident's publisher, Andrew Rasiej, and editorial director, Micah Sifry, are senior advisers to the Sunlight Foundation.