Dec 092009
 

David L. Sobel comments:

The Obama Administration today issued its long-awaited Open Government Directive (OGD), a blueprint for transparency that the President promised on January 21, his first full day in office. The OGD is “intended to direct executive departments and agencies to take specific actions to implement the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration” the President spoke of as he took office, and it is hopefully the first of many concrete steps that will be taken to alter the entrenched culture of secrecy that pervades the federal government.

The OGD imposes four broad mandates on the federal bureaucracy: 1) publish government information online; 2) improve the quality of government information; 3) create and institutionalize a culture of open government; and 4) create an enabling policy framework for open government. The Directive sets time limits, ranging from 45 to 120 days, for agency action to implement specific benchmarks (this “open government timetable” is summarized in an excellent analysis by Meredith Fuchs of the National Security Archive). Many of the requirements are fairly concrete; for instance, within 60 days, each agency must create an “Open Government Webpage” to serve as the gateway for agency activities related to implementation of the OGD, including the receipt of public comments. There are lots of good ideas in the directive, and the success of this endeavor will be determined by the enthusiasm (or lack thereof) with which it’s received by agency officials and the federal workforce.

If the White House is serious about gaining enthusiastic, government-wide cooperation to make open government a reality, it can lead by example, and EFF can suggest a great place to start…..

Read more on the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Over on Ars Technica, Matthew Laser writes that:

The White House has told all government agencies to publish at least three sets of “high value data” on the Web within 45 days. We’re not sure what they mean by that, but we’ve got some suggestions, starting with all the FCC’s indecency complaints in downloadable form.

[...]

In a tough-talking document, the Obama administration has ordered all government agencies to identify and publish online in an accessible format at least three “high-value data sets” and publish them on Data.gov, the site dedicated to releasing important federal information. “These must be data sets not previously available online or in a downloadable format,” the White House’s Office of Budget and Management memo stipulates. And the new materials must be up in 45 days.

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