The Internal Revenue Service failed to comply with 11 percent of its Freedom of Information Act requests, a recently released Sept. 17 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report says. The IRS relies on disclosure personnel to ensure that information requests received under the FOIA are handled timely and in accordance with laws and regulations.
In an effort to be more transparent and participatory governments are making more data publicly available in machine-readable formats and under open licenses, but such noble aims are not immune to privacy issues, says a paper published June 18 in Future Internet, a Switzerland-based scholarly journal.
The White House directed agencies to improve public access to scientific information as part of its third annual Open Government Plan. The Office of Science and Technology Policy released the third version of the transparency strategy (pdf) June 1. It builds on earlier versions released in 2010 and 2012.
Conformance with the newly-enacted Digital Accountability and Transparency Act will require heavy lifting on the part of government, said Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel. "As far as systems today and how we can get there, they don't necessarily map in the way that the act described," said VanRoekel.
The Energy Department doesn't always share its research results with the public and the DOE's auditor says the problem isn't new. "The failure to obtain and disseminate the results of department-funded research has been a long standing problem that the Office of Inspector General has previously brought to management's attention," The DOE inspector general says in a May 22 report.
The National Archives and Records Administration will create a committee to improve the way the government process Freedom of Information Act request, a May 5 Federal Register notice says. "NARA has determined that the creation of the FOIA Advisory Committee is in the public interest due to the expertise and valuable advice the Committee members will provide on issues related to improving the administration of FOIA," the notice says.
The White House office charged with reviewing draft federal regulations has made it easier to search and sort records of its meetings with lobbyists and trade associations.
The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act took another step toward enactment into law after the Senate passed the bill unanimously Thursday. After it passed, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a statement in support of the Senate version, calling it a compromise supported by leaders from both parties in both chambers.
In the early days of Twitter, it was easy and common to dismiss the infant social network as a simplistic tool that served a whimsical and nerdy niche. Much like we pooh-poohed Twitter in those early days, GitHub, in its early crawl, is today dismissed simply as a tool for the diehard developer.
Why governments engage citizens in open government programs matters more than how they engage and poor engagement is worse than no engagement at all, says Tim Hughes, a researcher at Involve, a UK-based civil society organization. Hughes spoke March 20 during a webinar sponsored by the Open Government Partnership.