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Open Government: "Free" as in Someone-Still-Needs-to-Appropriate-Funds-for-It

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, March 28 2011

Open government advocates are freaking out about what the continuing budget resolutions being considered in the House and Senate would do to federal transparency projects like Data.gov, USASpending.gov, and online collaborations, which is to defund them, or to cut their funding to the bone; under the measures being considered on the Hill, the appropriation for the E-Government Fund for the remainder of the year would be cut to 1/17th of what it was in FY 2010, from $34 million down to two. OpenCongress's Donny Shaw puts the numbers in perspective: "The value of data openness in government cannot be overestimated, and for the cost of just one-third of one day of missile attacks in Libya, we can keep these initiatives alive and developing for another year." The fund was created in 2002 under the E-Government Act; here's your background CRS reading on the initiative. (via Gavin Baker)

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Web Index Sees Impact of Net Neutrality, Surveillance and Copyright Laws

Denmark, Finland, Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden have come out on top of the Web Index, a ranking of the Web Foundation measuring the economic, social and political benefit that countries gain from the web. The United States is at number six. For the authors of the report accompanying the index, the results reflect how inequality has an impact on access to the web. "Nordic policy-makers have been quick to adopt and promote the free Internet - and open access to information - as a 21st century public good," the report states. " Others, as this year's findings show, need to move fast to catch up." The report attributes the Scandinavian countries' advantage to the countries' broader efforts to invest in public goods and establish a welfare and acting against " excess concentrations of wealth and power." With the lower inequality in those countries than in others, "the skills, means and freedoms to benefit from new technologies are widespread, which helps to explain why Scandinavian countries score highly on the political, social and economic impact of the Web GO

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