Policy and News Updates for December 1, 2009


News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. Supreme Court Punts on Detainee Abuse Photos

II. FCC Open for Comments on Open Government, Citizen Engagement
 

News from Coalition Partners & Others

 

Click Here to Help Open Access to CRS Reports

 

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.

 

Sign-up for VCOG’s Sunshine Report: Online

The Virginia Coalition for Open Government (VCOG) has launched an e-mail newsletter. View a version of the newsletter online here, and send an e-mail toif you would like to be added to the mailing list.

 

Coalition Partners Participate in Annual ASAP Symposium

Several coalition partners will be share their expertise at the American Society of Access Professionals’ (ASAP) 2009 Annual Symposium and Training Conference held today and tomorrow (December 1-2) at the Washington Convention Center. During the sessions, representatives from the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the Center for Public Integrity, the Federation of American Scientists, the National Security Archive, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will speak on a variety of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA) issues. Learn more about the event here.

 

I. Supreme Court Punts on Detainee Abuse Photos

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.

 

II. FCC Open for Comments on Open Government, Citizen Engagement

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.

 

Categories: