Federal spending data systems have improved in recent years but still come up short in their efforts to fully inform the public on government spending, says a June 6 brief from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Under the new policy, agencies must build and modernize information systems in a way that "maximizes interoperability and information accessibility, maintains internal and external data asset inventories, enhances information safeguards, and clarifies information management responsibilities," says the memo.
The government should set up a steering committee to reform how federal documents are classified, 31 public interest organizations wrote in a letter (.pdf) to President Obama. A presidentially-appointed steering committee would provide a mechanism for identifying and coordinating needed changes and for overcoming internal agency resistance to change, it adds.
Opponents of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act and government transparency advocates are calling on the House Intelligence Committee to hold a public markup of the bill when it comes before the committee next week – although committee staff the nature of the committee hearing prevents public entry or recording.
Federal agencies should treat the identities of Freedom of Information Act requesters with the same privacy protections as librarians extend to patrons, argues an City University of New York law school academic.
The Department of Justice is using metadata in its effort to improve public access to government documents through the Freedom of Information Act. Using metadata to tag information will allow citizens to easily look up FOIA documents with a simple keyword search, either directly through a government site such as FOIA.gov , or through an Internet browser, a DOJ statement reported.
In 2012, agencies processed more than half a million FOIA requests, but they only released information with no redactions in 41 percent of requests, according to the report, released March 13. It drew on data from 25 major federal agencies, including most cabinet-level departments.
"One looks like a democracy and the other is national security state, where claims of national security usually trump openness and accountability," Angela Canterbury, director of public policy for the Project on Government Oversight, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform March 13.
The rising use of new communication technology is changing the balance of control and ownership of information among states and individuals, leading to increased monitoring of government diplomacy by individuals and other nations.
"Ultimately, the administration will be judged on the transparency it delivered, not the transparency it envisioned or promised--and there is widespread agreement that the delivery has lagged," write report authors from the Center for Effective Government.