surveillance

It Takes a Global Village to Fight Efforts to Subvert Open Government Policies

As we have seen in the United States, political transitions can be a precarious time for government openness and accountability. There are myriad ways that governments backslide, ranging from abandoning international agreements and multi-stakeholder initiatives, to threatening the independence of courts and legislative bodies, to direct attacks against journalists, civil society and political opponents.

The next FBI Director should commit to transparency and accountability

During its recent confirmation hearing for Christopher Wray to succeed James Comey as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Senate Judiciary Committee properly focused on whether Wray would be independent enough to withstand potential political pressure on the agency. Noting that he would resign if asked by the president to do anything “illegal, unconstitutional or even morally repugnant,” Wray’s answers reassured Committee members, and he seems headed toward a smooth confirmation. But before the final vote, Senators should demand that Wray commit to fostering openness and accountability at the FBI, and put in the record the nominee’s positions on warrantless surveillance, the use of cell phone interception technology, and police data collection.

House Committee holds oversight hearing on FBI’s use of facial recognition technology

At today's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the FBI’s use of facial recognition technology, serious secrecy and privacy concerns were raised about the collection, sharing and use of such biometrics data. Greater oversight and transparency, areas of serious concern for open government groups and civil rights advocates alike, are critical to ensuring the public’s right to know about the expanding collection and use of such data.