GAP, AU, Conference Highlights Role of Whistleblowers in Food Safety
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) and American University sponsored a day-long conference on November 20 focusing on problems with the current food safety policy structure in America, and how to improve upon it. During the conference, panelists discussed the role of employees as a first line of defense against food adulteration, and the on-going campaign to restore whistleblower protections. The program also included an interview by GAP's Executive Director, Mark Cohen, of Dr. David A. Kessler, former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration. The interview will appear during an upcoming episode of GAP's multi-media program, Whistle Where You Work.
As many court observers and open government advocates expected, the Supreme Court vacated an appeals court ruling ordering the release of photographs of detainee abuse by U.S. captors on Monday, citing a provision allowing the photos to be withheld that was signed into law as part of the 2010 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Authorization bill (see our earlier coverage here). The Supreme Court's decision to punt on the issue is welcomed by many in the open government community who fear that, given the current make-up of the court, the case may have resulted in a bad precedent. Monday's order, however, did not put the issue to rest; the case has been remanded to the New York-based 2nd Circuit appeals court which must now open the case and re-examine the evidence.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued two public notices for comment on issues related to open government and citizen engagement. A November 17 public notice seeks comments on how broadband can help to bring democratic processes-including elections, public hearings and town hall meetings-into the digital age; the deadline for comments is December 10. A public notice issued the following day, November 18, seeks comments on how broadband and portability of data can help improve transparency and citizen engagement; the deadline for comments is December 9. In addition to filing paper copies, comments may be submitted using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) or Regulations.gov.