In This Issue: [click on the link to go to the corresponding section]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced the recipients for the organization’s 2010 Pioneer Awards. The awards, which will be formally presented in San Francisco on November 8, recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. One of this year’s award winners is Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Project on Government Secrecy. Mr. Aftergood is a member of OpenTheGovernment.org’s Steering Committee; read his influential blog Secrecy News here.
Gary Bass, Executive Director of OMB Watch, recently announced he will be leaving the advocacy world to serve as executive director of the Bauman Foundation. Dr. Bass founded OMB Watch nearly 28 years ago, and helped form OpenTheGovernment.org to coordinate organizations concerned with the increase in government secrecy during the Bush Administration.
On October 22, iSolon.org sponsored a panel discussion at the National Press Club on the implications for government transparency and investigative reporting of the revolution in national security information sharing since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At the event, iSolon’s President, J.H. Snider, presented his working paper: Connecting the Dots for Democratic Accountability: Semantic Web-Based Information Sharing Policy and the Future of Investigative Reporting.
Last week OpenTheGovernment.org posted a response to the public feedback we have received on our proposal to evaluate open government at federal agencies. The proposal is a part of an ongoing project organized by OpenTheGovernment.org to evaluate the Obama Administrationâ€™s Open Government Initiative. We appreciate the public interest and willingness to contribute to our effort to evaluate open government at federal agencies, and are heartened by the thoughtful and substantive feedback we received from the open government community.
To complete the evaluations, OpenTheGovernment.org relies on a group of volunteers with experience working with agencies and evaluating information policies from nonprofit groups, academia, and other organizations that serve the public interest. We welcome participation from anyone with a commitment to increasing the federal government’s openness, participation, and collaboration. To get involved in this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
On October 20, over 30 organizations concerned with transparency and accountability joined OpenTheGovernment.org in sending a letter urging the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to not include in the final version of the National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization (NTSB) Act of 2010 (HR 4714, S 2768) two provisions in Section 3(d) of the Senate-passed version of the bill, S. 2768, that unduly limit the public’s ability to access critical information. Specifically, the signatories object to provisions in the Senate-passed bill that would needlessly expand categories of information that may be withheld under exemption b(3) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records related to ongoing Board investigations and excessively expands protections from public disclosure for commercial or financial information submitted to the Board.