Policy and News Updates for August 26, 2008


In This Issue: [click on the link to go to the corresponding section]

News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. Library Partnership Preserves End-of-Term Government Web Sites

II. OpenTheGovernment.org Works with Coalition Partners to Enhance Legal Protections for Federal Whistleblowers

III. OpenTheGovernment.org Comments on Criminal Intelligence Systems Operating Policies Proposed Rule

News from Coalition Partners & Others

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Releases Report on Lack of Access to Military Courts

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) recently released, "Off Base: Fighting for Access to Military Court Dockets and Proceedings,"a guide including information on the problems reporters encounter in covering military courts, the relevant law and helpful resources. The guide also includes data from a study commissioned by RCFP by the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

 

Center for Progressive Reform Releases Policies to Protect Scientific Integrity

The Center for Progressive Reform has posted Saving Science from Politics: Nine Essential Reforms on their website. As its title suggests, the white paper proposes a series of practical reforms to ensure scientific information is not manipulated in the interest of politics.

 

Progressive Librarians Guild Announces New Government Secrecy Collection

The Progressive Librarians Guild announces the publication of Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings, Libraries Unlimited, 2008. The collection, co-edited by Dr. Susan Maret, a member of the Progressive Librarians Guild Coordinating Committee, and Dr. Jan Goldman, includes essays on the history and philosophy, theory and practice, justification and critique of government secrecy.

 

At Annual IG Conference, POGO Discusses Role and Performance of Inspectors General (IG)

The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) participated in a panel discussion with the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Chair of the IG Councils Clay Johnson III on the basic role of IGs, and presented findings from their review of the IG system, at the annual federal IG conference. Read about the debate between POGO and Mr. Johnson, here.

 

NCAC Files Amicus Brief Supporting Right to Know

The National Coalition Against Censorship’s (NCAC) The Knowledge Project filed an amicus brief in Wyeth v. Levine, a case whose important First Amendment implications include the public’s access to information about the health risks of marketed drugs. Read a short description of the case and the free expression rights at issue here.

 

I. Library Partnership Preserves End-of-Term Government Web Sites

The Library of Congress, the California Digital Library, the University of North Texas Libraries, the Internet Archive and the U.S. Government Printing Office announced they will collaborate to capture and preserve a "snapshot" of government web pages at the end of the current Administration. Earlier this year, OpenTheGovernment.org and 19 organizations wrote a letter to the Archivist of the United States to protest the National Archives’ decision to not collect and maintain this culturally and historically important digital content. While the collaboration is laudable and deserves support, it is critical that the National Archives takes responsibility for preserving essential components of our nation’s history.

 

II. OpenTheGovernment.org Works with Coalition Partners to Enhance Legal Protections for Federal Whistleblowers

Both the House and the Senate have passed bills (H.R. 985, S. 274) to protect government whistleblowers from retaliation, but have yet to set aside their differences to come to a final agreement. The House bill closes important loopholes by expanding protection to national security workers in the FBI and other intelligence agencies, government contractors, and almost 40,000 airport baggage screeners and provides these whistleblowers with due process, including jury trials when they face retribution from co-workers or employers. Send a letter to your Members of Congress through our site asking that they finalize and pass a strong bill to protect government employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse.

 

III. OpenTheGovernment.org Comments on Criminal Intelligence Systems Operating Policies Proposed Rule

In response to a DOJ proposed rule expanding the perception of the scope of collectible information and requiring information be stored- without review or re-validation- for an extended period of time time, OpenTheGovernment.org submitted comments urging DOJ to withdraw the proposal. Current regulations allow DOJ to collect and store necessary information and, by requiring information to be purged unless it is reviewed and re-validated, help ensure that obsolete information does not stop intelligence officials from identifying real threats.

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