On Wednesday, September 9 from 8:30 – 10 AM, the Privacy Coalition, which includes several coalition partners, will release the Obama Administration Privacy Score Card at the National Press Club. During the event, a team of privacy experts will score the Administration’s performance on a range of privacy issues, including: Consumer Privacy; Medical Privacy; Civil Liberties; and Cyber Security. The event is open to the public. Please RSVP by sending a message to RSVP@epic.org, subject line Privacy Scorecard for the Obama Administration.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) has launched a web site to host an online version of Whistle Where You Work, a multi-media program focused on issues of accountability. Visit the site to view the latest episode, find out when you can catch the program on the radio or TV, and browse the program archives.
The National Security Archive has released a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Bush and Obama versions of the CIA Inspector General’s Report on Torture. On August 24, the Obama administration released new portions of the report including considerably more information about the use of torture and other illegal practices by CIA interrogators than a version of the report declassified by the Bush administration in 2008. The Archives also posted significant new revelations from the Obama report.
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has posted streaming video (free to members) and Working Press coverage from the 2009 National Convention & National Journalism Conference. You can also download all handouts from the event here.
Today OpenTheGovernment.org released the 2009 Secrecy Report Card, the sixth annual report tracking indicators of secrecy over time. In the wake of the 2008 elections, which were seen by many as a referendum on secrecy and accountability, the 2009 Secrecy Report Card chronicles slight decreases in secrecy across a wide spectrum of indicators in the last year of the Bush-Cheney Administration, after five years of continued expansion. The report also provides a six-month overview of the Obama Administration’s promise and practice on openness issues, and a section on financial transparency during the economic crisis.
On September 1, several coalition partners and other organizations concerned with government openness and accountability, civil liberties, and privacy joined OpenTheGovernment.org in sending letters to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to urge they strike the provision in the 2010 Intelligence Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2701/S.1494) that would exempt terrorist identity information (TII) from the Freedom of Information Act.
The 90 day review of the Executive Order on classification (EO 13292) and handling procedures for "controlled unclassified information" (CUI), also known as "sensitive but unclassified" information (SBU), ordered by President Obama has ended. It will likely be several months before the Administration develops solid policy recommendations. Before the recommendations are turned over for Presidential review, we urge the Administration to circulate the policies for public comment. As pointed out in a recent letter from OpenTheGovernment.org and several coalition partners to National Security Advisor James L. Jones, the opportunity to comment on how input is translated into policy is the true measure of transparency, participation, and collaboration promised by the President.
The White House recently issued a solicitation seeking help capturing and maintaining data on publicly-accessible websites covered by Presidential Records Act. According to Patrice McDermott, Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, "This is a positive development because it demonstrates a commitment from the Obama Administration to meet its obligations under the Presidential Records Act. Additionally, I am encouraged to see the Administration recognizing that it must find a way to handle the ever-expanding amount of data generated electronically. I hope the rest of the executive branch will learn from the President’s leadership on this issue."