Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Justice Department Developing Open Government Plan

Justice Department Developing Open Government Plan: "Several other suggestions involve the Freedom of Information Act, ... release of any department information, we must balance the interests of transparency ...
"

FOI Proposed Ruling

FOI Proposed Ruling: "This is a copy of the Connecticut Freedom of Information proposed ruling the in case of the New Haven Register v. New Havne Board of Education.

www.scribd.com/doc/28925209/FOI-Proposed-Ruling"

Group helps get information from government

Group helps get information from government: "

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Wyoming established its freedom of information group last year. ... entities about open government laws and government transparency,” Dennison said. ...
"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Macleans.ca

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/03/29/access-to-information-request-on-rights-and-democracy-ignored/

MAINE COMPASS: Coalition marks 10 years protecting citizens’ right to know | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

http://www.kjonline.com/opinion/columnists/MAINE-COMPASS-Coalition-marks-10-years-protecting-citizens-right-to-know-.html

PIA Information Services - Philippine Information Agency

http://www.pia.gov.ph/default.asp?m=12&fi=p100330.htm&no=02

EDITORIAL: Transparency toward a better government

http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/3985512

Crime Central - Times Online - WBLG: ACPO to be covered by Freedom of Information laws

http://timesonline.typepad.com/crime/2010/03/acpo-to-be-covered-by-freedom-of-information-laws.html

Why should public data be online? — Making Government Transparent and Accountable - Sunlight Foundation Blog

http://blog.sunlightfoundation.com/2010/03/30/why-should-public-data-be-online/

UK Freedom of Information Blog: Orders to add/remove bodies to the FOI Act

http://foia.blogspot.com/2010/03/orders-to-addremove-bodies-to-foi-act.html

Greater transparency in Freedom of Information - Ministry of Justice

http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/newsrelease300310a.htm

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rep. Quigley Introduces the Transparency in Government Act: You Helped Make it Happen

Rep. Quigley Introduces the Transparency in Government Act: You Helped Make it Happen: "

Today Rep. Mike Quigley introduced the Transparency in Government Act, sweeping legislation that addresses issues ranging from making Members’ reports of their personal financial information more detailed, to making lobbyists’ reports more timely, to making the work of federal contractors more transparent. (We’ll link to it here as soon as it’s available online.) Sunlight applauds Rep. Quigley for taking on the challenge of shining more light on the work of Congress and the executive branch, as well on the outside forces that influence government decisions.


Rep. Quigley’s decision to create an overarching transparency bill was spurred in part because he came across Sunlight’s model transparency legislation on PublicMarkup.org. To refresh your memory, back in 2008, Sunlight put together a comprehensive package of government transparency legislation and asked you to “mark it up,” in other words, give us your thoughts, online, on ways to improve the bill. We received hundreds of thoughtful and substantive comments, and incorporated many of them into a second version the bill. It is the bill that you helped draft that became the framework for the legislation introduced in the House of Representatives today.


Much of Congressman Quigley’s bill will look familiar to anyone who contributed to Sunlight’s bill on PublicMarkup, and, as is his prerogative, some of it will have changed. We will go through the bill in the coming days and let you know what we like, what could be improved, and what new transparency ideas warrant further exploration.


By introducing the Transparency in Government Act, Rep. Quigley has advanced the cause of transparency and accountability in government. And, by using PublicMarkup to inform his bill, Rep. Quigley has demonstrated that good ideas, reasoned voices and modern technology can be used in concert to shape what happens on Capitol Hill.


Update: THOMAS now has the bill, H.R. 4983. The text will be up as soon as THOMAS processes it. For a summary, see Rep. Quigley’s announcement.

"

Editorial: Transparency needed in government

Editorial: Transparency needed in government: "But transparency serves the public much better. Journalists have long advocated open government and state legislatures have come up with open-door laws to ...


See all stories on this topic
"

National Gallery officials may face charges over information request. - Kelowna.com

National Gallery officials may face charges over information request. - Kelowna.com: "


National Gallery officials may face charges over information request.
Kelowna.com
Section 67.1 forbids destruction of documents with the intent to thwart an Access to Information request. While Legault determined there was evidence of ...

and more »
"

Around Canada - Winnipeg Free Press

Around Canada - Winnipeg Free Press: "


Around Canada
Winnipeg Free Press
... has concluded there is evidence National Gallery officials broke the law in 2008 by destroying e-mails sought in an Access to Information request. ...

and more »
"

Dramatic drop in timely FOI responses

Dramatic drop in timely FOI responses: "The council receives around 1500 FOI requests every year. Each council department has a FOI officer, who job it is to respond to requests for that ...

See all stories on this topic"

"Right to Know, Right Now" campaign launched

"Right to Know, Right Now" campaign launched: "In line with this, the Right to Know, Right Now Network organized a forum on Freedom of Information (FOI) Act yesterday (March 25) at University of ...

See all stories on this topic"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Open government important every day » Anderson Independent Mail

http://www.independentmail.com/news/2010/mar/24/open-government-important-every-day/

Celebrating Transparency Heroes on Ada Lovelace Day

Celebrating Transparency Heroes on Ada Lovelace Day: "

What better celebration of Ada Lovelace Day – celebrating the achievements of women in technology – could we have than to honor the women who are key to the government transparency movement to which technology is so key? These women are using technology to pry open the doors of government, and are creating a new style of transparency powered by the Internet. By either making more political and spending data available online, facilitating others to do the same, addressing questions that arise in the age of technology or by creating new tools and context to help all of us connect the dots and understand what the data has to tell us, these women are empowering all of us to hold our government accountable in ways we never could before. As I look around to my colleagues, I see a remarkable number of us – too many to really mention in one column. So here are a few:


Ryan Alexander became President of Taxpayers for Common Sense in November 2006, after more than seven years of serving on the board. Taxpayers, under her leadership, has become the go-to organization if you want to find out anything about earmarks. She’s had a long history working on behalf of the public interest: in the past 20 years she has worked as a non-profit advocate, litigator, manager, funder and consultant on issues from media policy, election reform, public health policy, transparency, privacy, women’s economic security and citizen participation. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ryanalxndr.


Danielle Brian’s been battling government secrecy for two decades as the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) — a group that investigates, exposes, and remedies corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open and ethical federal government. POGO’s investigations have led to major reforms and cuts in wasteful spending in such areas as government secrecy, nuclear security, drug industry influence on health policy, and defense contractor waste and fraud. When she started there – there was no such thing as a fax or even a feeder in the copy machine, let alone the Internet. You can follow her on twitter at http://twitter.com/daniellebrian.


Leslie Harris is the President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology, where she is responsible for the overall vision and direction of the organization and serves as its chief strategist and spokesperson. Under her leadership, CDT has grown significantly, opened a West Coast office and launched an influential Health Privacy Project. Leslie is widely known for her work on policy issues related to civil liberties, new technologies and the Internet including free expression, government and consumer privacy, cyber security and global Internet freedom. She frequently testifies before Congress and federal agencies, is a regular contributor to several online publications and blogs, including the Huffington Post, and in 2009 was named one of Washington’s Tech Titans by Washingtonian magazine. You can follow her on twitter at http://twittter.com/Leslie_Harris


Sheila Krumholz has been the Executive Director of the Center of Responsive Politics since 2007. She has been at the Center since 1989 (with a few years off) working her way up through the research ranks, overseeing the internal data compilation and analyses found on CRP’s site, OpenSecrets.org, as well as customized research for CRP’s clients. Under her leadership, CRP has increased its reputation as a reliable source for accurate, nonpartisan research and the premier resource on political finance, lobbying, revolving door and other influence data at the federal level. Sheila also a heads an organization where three of their four senior staff members – including the directors of IT and research – are women, representing a combined 40 years of work at the Center. You can follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/skrmhlz.


Jen Palkha spent 15 years in technology media before deciding to focus on transparency at the municipal level with the founding of her new organization – Code for America – that works with city governments to identify web apps that drive transparency, efficiency and participation, and that are reusable by other cities. Code for America recruits teams of fellows from the web industry to build these apps through a structured program of public service. Jennifer is currently working with the 11 cities who applied for their first development cycle to decide which three to five projects will be built starting in January 2011. You can follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pahlkadot.


Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor and Hill staffer, started Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington in 2003. CREW has used litigation as a tactic to force our government to be more transparent. Melanie and CREW were instrumental in revealing that millions of emails disappeared from Bush White House servers. It is also thanks to CREW’s lawsuits against both the Bush and Obama administrations that the Obama White House now makes White House visitor records available online. You can follow CREW’s work on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CREWCREW


And my colleagues would berate me for not including my own story. I am co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to using the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency. I am the founder of two other prominent Washington-based organizations in the field of money and politics – the Center for Responsive Politics and Public Campaign – and an expert on transparency and the influence of money in politics. You can follow me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ellnmllr


It’s been an enormous pleasure to work with Ryan, Danielle, Sheila, Leslie, Jen and Melanie for many years. We all say “thank you, Ada” for paving the way.

"

More government statistics now online - Sault This Week

More government statistics now online - Sault This Week: "


More government statistics now online
Sault This Week
"This will ensure that anyone who would like this data can access it for free whenever they want it, without having to make an Access to Information request ...

and more »
"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunshine Week 2010 Concludes with a Number of Federal Initiatives

Sunshine Week 2010 Concludes with a Number of Federal Initiatives: "Several open government events occurred throughout the week focused on federal transparency. The Freedom Forum kicked off Sunshine Week with its 12th annual ...


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"

Let the Sun Shine In

Let the Sun Shine In: "

This Sunshine Week was a particularly successful (and busy!) time for Sunlight. We helped usher in new transparency legislation, launched a nation-wide grassroots campaign, launched a new design contest, joint led a crowdsourced search for government data, met with editorial boards and more. No wonder we’re all exhausted this Friday afternoon.


Here’s a more granular look at what we accomplished this week:


For Sunlight’s Communications team, Sunshine Week began early, with extensive outreach to editorial boards, reporters and columnists. This strategy paid off, as Sunday’s kick off of Sunshine Week by newspapers across the country included many mentions of Sunlight’s work. (You can read all of our mentions on our site — and note we’re still updating the list.)


On Monday, John Wonderlich, Gabriela Schneider and I met with an editorial writer Washington Post to discuss initiatives we support that would further improve public access to government information including the Public Online Information Act.


That bill was introduced at a press conference on Tuesday (under a transparently clear sky) on Capitol Hill. I joined Rep. Steve Israel and the Personal Democracy Forum’s Andrew Rasiej (who is also an adviser to Sunlight) in announcing this landmark legislation. You can watch our press conference if you want to know more details about this groundbreaking legislation.


On Wednesday, Sunlight Labs launched our fourth official contest: Design for America. Part contest, part festival, the Design for America contest’s intent is to inspire the design community to tell great stories about how our government works, what our government does, and what it could do. It’s a contest as much about possibility as transparency, and with categories ranging from infographics to web design, there’s plenty for all to compete.


Also on Wednesday, we joined the Center for Public Integrity in crowdsourcing our Data Mine project, a new online series identifying inaccessible or difficult to use information from the federal government. We need your tips on what federal government records, databases, and filings should be open to the public – join us to help so you can continue to read about public government data that we still can’t access. Follow Jim Morris’ posts on the Reporting Group site, like his most recent report.


On Thursday, Sunlight’s Engagement team kicked off our new Public=Online campaign . Jake Brewer led a roundtable discussion at Google’s D.C. headquarters, with Jose Antonio Vargas from Huffington Post; Jim Harper from Cato Institute and WashingtonWatch.com; Ginny Hunt from Google’s Public Sector Lab and Ryan Hopkins of Public Square Project in Pittsburgh. Public=Online is a completely non-partisan campaign with the first goal of making government transparency a major issue in the upcoming mid-term elections. We hope you’ll sign the pledge and join us.


I traveled to Boston that day to meet with the Boston Globe editorial board, speak with fellows at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, and at an MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media Forum.


Our Engagement team also organized a Sunshine Week Blogswarm, in which about 50 bloggers across the country pledged they would blog about the importance of transparency to them. Look for a “Local Sunlight” blog post early next week by Nisha Thompson with a roundup.


Today, John Wonderlich joined White House Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, Norm Eisen, and Jim Harper from Cato and WashingtonWatch.com (which I should note is a Sunlight grantee) at the OpenTheGovernment.org “Building Transparency” panel at the Center for American Progress.


Whew! What a week.

"

Agencies must be the engines behind sustained transparency push

Agencies must be the engines behind sustained transparency push: "The day after taking office, President Obama committed himself to an open government agenda that would improve transparency, citizen participation and ...


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"

Members of House hear testimony about FOIA progress

Members of House hear testimony about FOIA progress: "Journalists, government representatives and Freedom of Information Act experts testified before members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government ...


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"

Committee informs in information report

Committee informs in information report: "Cabinet Secretary, Senator Joe Ludwig said the Committee endorsed the objectives of the FOI reform agenda, which aimed to implement a pro-disclosure culture ...


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"

Nonprofits, Transparency, and Sunshine

Nonprofits, Transparency, and Sunshine: "... Editors—and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation—“to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. ...


See all stories on this topic
"

Rick's Rants Tuesday March 23rd/2010

Rick's Rants Tuesday March 23rd/2010: "As the MLA's expenses scandal simmers here in Nova Scotia, awaiting the next ... of this land cannot have access to information on how our money is spent. ...
"

FOI laws help shine a light on government actions | Richmond Times ...

FOI laws help shine a light on government actions Richmond Times ...: "At the bottom of Thursday's front page was a piece of reporting brought to you courtesy of Virginia's Freedom of Information Act. It was a story by David ...
"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Group aims at government transparency in W.Va.

http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/group-aims-at-government-transparency-in-w-va-1.1821543

Gagging law to protect Prince Charles - Times Online

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7069750.ece

Bloomberg Wins FOI Case Against Fed - News on News

http://www.newsonnews.net/bloomberg/2255-bloomberg-wins-foi-case-against-fed.html

Police Seek FOI Exceptions (Times Record) | Ashdown, Arkansas LocalSpur - News, Yellow Page Listings, Events and Local Tweets for Ashdown, AR.

http://ashdown.localspur.com/2010/03/20/police-seek-foi-exceptions-times-record/

Sunshine: Open government vital - Editorials - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -

http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/Editorials/201003190759

CBC News - Nova Scotia - N.S. information too costly: critic

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/03/22/ns-information-fees.html

Information Empowers American Citizens | Lynchburg News Advance

http://www2.newsadvance.com/lna/news/opinion/editorials/article/information_empowers_american_citizens/25235/

Advocates: State needs more sunshine :: The SouthtownStar :: Project Sunshine

http://www.southtownstar.com/news/sunshine/2113757,032110foiawrap.article

No more secrets | iBlogAuto

http://iblogauto.com/2010/03/21/no-more-secrets/

Everybody should have access to the people's business | livingstondaily.com | Livingston Daily

http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20100321/OPINION01/3210316

The FOI Advocate: A Portrait of FOI Citizen Warrior Ned Sloan

http://foiadvocate.blogspot.com/2010/03/portrait-of-foi-citizen-warrior-ned.html

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Solar Flare: A Sunshine Week Roundup - The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Blog

http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2010/03/solar-flare-a-sunshine-week-roundup.html

Sunshine Week spotlights the need for open government: Regina Brett | cleveland.com

http://www.cleveland.com/brett/blog/index.ssf/2010/03/post_8.html

The Post and Courier - A transparent failure - Charleston SC - postandcourier.com

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2010/mar/18/a-transparent-failure/

Strides are made in government openness, but there's more to do » Abilene Reporter-News Mobile

http://m.reporternews.com/news/2010/mar/17/strides-are-made-in-government-openness-but-more/

Conducting Public Affairs in the Daylight | Lynchburg News Advance

http://www2.newsadvance.com/lna/news/opinion/editorials/article/conducting_public_affairs_in_the_daylight/25163/

Privacy commissioner says Sask. Health unreasonable over information request - Winnipeg Free Press

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/life/health/privacy-commissioner-says-sask-health-unreasonable-over-information-request-88311042.html

An Upgrade For FOIA - Under The Influence - Under the Influence

http://undertheinfluence.nationaljournal.com/2010/03/an-upgrade-for-foia.php

Attorney General Holder's non-transparency exposed by watchdog group

http://www.examiner.com/x-2684-Law-Enforcement-Examiner~y2010m3d18-Attorney-General-Holders-nontransparency-exposed-by-watchdog-group

Sunshine Week Promotes Open Government | Executive Gov

http://www.executivegov.com/2010/03/sunshine-week-promotes-open-government/

Supreme Court unveils new website: how does it look? — Making Government Transparent and Accountable - Sunlight Foundation Blog

http://blog.sunlightfoundation.com/2010/03/18/supreme-court-unveils-new-website-how-does-it-look/

Idea to Action: Launching the Public=Online Campaign — Making Government Transparent and Accountable - Sunlight Foundation Blog

http://blog.sunlightfoundation.com/2010/03/18/idea-to-action-launching-the-publiconline-campaign/

Their View: Giving thanks for open, accountable government - Las Cruces Sun-News

http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-opinion/ci_14699778

Citizenship and Immigration Canada statistics available on public domain | Canadian Immigrant

http://canadianimmigrant.ca/learn/newsitems/article/6744

FOI laws allow even officials to better examine the public's business | thenewsstar.com | The News Star

http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20100318/UPDATES01/100318025

Municipalities use Internet to share information

http://www.tricitytimes-online.com/Articles-i-2010-03-17-204554.112113_Municipalities_use_Internet_to_share_information.html

Column: Privacy vs. public right to know - Opinion - USATODAY.com

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2010/03/column-privacy-vs-public-right-to-know-.html

Personal Health Information Act

http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/legc/bills/61st_1st/1st_read/b064.htm

Check out Section 72 breach notification

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Historic Opportunity for Government Transparency

A Historic Opportunity for Government Transparency: "

John D. Podesta accepts the FOIA Legends Award and speaks on the importance of freedom of information at the American University Washington College of Law.

"

DEP Expands Public Access To Contaminated Site Information

DEP Expands Public Access To Contaminated Site Information: "... Society of News Editors, Sunshine Week is a national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. ...


See all stories on this topic
"

FOI in China » Announcement: moving to new domain

FOI in China » Announcement: moving to new domain: "Announcement: moving to new domain · Map of FOI cases and laws added · Curtain rose yet uncertainess remains: FOI Regulation came into force · What factors in the politico-administrative structure influence Chinese agencies? compliance ...



FOI in China - http://www.freedominfo.cn/Blog/
"

Sunshine Week 2010: FOIA Could Still Shed More Light

Sunshine Week 2010: FOIA Could Still Shed More Light: "As the transparency community celebrates Sunshine Week, we here at EFF are reminded that most of the federal agencies we seek to monitor through our Freedom ...


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"

FOI exemption collides with municipal data needs

FOI exemption collides with municipal data needs: "Now a legislative committee is considering a bill to conform the FOI law to that ruling, an action that has town clerks and the Connecticut Freedom of ...


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"

Earmark Transparency Makes More Sense Than a Ban

Earmark Transparency Makes More Sense Than a Ban: "

The recent policies imposed by the House Appropriations Committee and the House Republican Caucus to ban for-profit earmarks and all earmarks respectively will reduce the ability of the public to track directed spending and do little to stem this type of spending. Perhaps this is counter-intuitive to some people, but, as the late, great Bill Hicks would say, “I know this is not a very popular idea. You don’t hear it too often any more … but it’s the truth.


First of all, the obvious, the for-profit earmark ban and the House Republican earmark ban both only apply to the House of Representatives. The Senate refuses to follow suit. With the Senate earmarking precious appropriations dollars, House members will take to lobbying their state’s senators for earmarks in their respective districts. The money isn’t drying up, so why not try to get some.


Second, tons of not-for-profit earmarks go to colleges, universities, non-profits and state and local governments that then contract out to for-profit firms. Here are some examples:


Twice in recent years, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) helped obtain earmarks totaling $3.2 million for a home-state university to study how to make military jet fuel from plants. Standing behind that nonprofit work, however, is a for-profit Chicago firm that often partners with universities to reap part of their earmark benefits. (Washington Post)


Another example of controversial earmarks the new reform would not touch is a nonprofit defense research center at Pennsylvania State University that collected nearly $250 million in earmarks through Murtha, then channeled a significant portion of the funds to companies that were among Murtha’s campaign supporters.


According to a report in the Washington Post, officials at the center regularly consulted with two “handlers” close to Murtha, one of whom was a lobbyist for the PMA Group, a firm that recently disbanded in the wake of an FBI raid on its offices. (The Hill)


The above-linked Washington Post article rightly notes that, “[the] new rule was widely touted as a crackdown, but in reality it could leave untouched almost 90 percent of typical earmarks.”


Third, there are a variety of other ways for lawmakers to secure earmarked funds outside of the appropriations committee. One such example are the earmarks included in the transportation reauthorization bill. Unlike the Appropriations Committee, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee does not post online the requests they receive from members nor does it require members to post their transportation earmarks to their official web sites. Transportation earmarks only come up every four years. If a ban remains in effect, lawmakers will certainly look for other ways to direct spending to their district. By going through Transportation Committee they would be circumventing transparency rules set up by the Appropriations Committee.


Even more troubling could be the increase in “phone-marks” in place of earmarks. “Phone-marks” are the practice of lawmakers lobbying executive agencies to give money to particular organizations. Lawmaker lobbying could easily be instigated by an outside lobbyist or campaign contributor seeking funding for a project. And, of course, there is no transparency in this process.


What Congress really needs to do is pass real earmark reform. Earmark reform that makes the process totally transparent and encoded in rules or laws. Committee imposed rules or bans can easily be changed or circumvented — this includes the committee’s imposed rules on earmark transparency. Passing a resolution like the Cassidy-Speier earmark reform bill would allow people to actually see the earmarking process before their eyes, instead of head-faking with a ban and then taking the process underground.

"

Obama deputy: Transparency a priority, but takes time

Obama deputy: Transparency a priority, but takes time: "Although her office's work focuses on making agency responses to Freedom of Information Act requests more responsive, Nisbet also called on journalists to ...


See all stories on this topic
"

The Great Beyond: FOI requests rattle UK animal research community

The Great Beyond: FOI requests rattle UK animal research community: "Luke Steele, who works at the Stop Animal Experiments at Bradford group, has apparently sent FOI requests to every university in Britain. ...
"

Lack of transparency hinders consumer rights

Lack of transparency hinders consumer rights: "The objectives of the workshop included raising awareness on FOI legislation, educate people about its salient features, encouraging the use of FOI laws and ...


See all stories on this topic
"

Holder Boasts of Transparency, but Studies Find Government Still Too Secretive

Holder Boasts of Transparency, but Studies Find Government Still Too Secretive: "... federal government operates," Holder said as he commemorated "National Sunshine Week," which celebrates open government and freedom of information. ...


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"

Quinn presents Transparency 2.0

Quinn presents Transparency 2.0: "Yepsen said attempts to exempt certain departments from Freedom of Information Act standards demonstrate state government's attitude toward so-called ...


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"

Sunny Awards: Kansas Government Websites Don't Make the Cut

Sunny Awards: Kansas Government Websites Don't Make the Cut: "A 2007 study by BGA and the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFIC) gave Kansas and 37 other states an F and ranked the state 25th out of 50. ...


See all stories on this topic
"

FOI FYI » Blog Archive » Happy Sunshine Week! FERPA guide ...

FOI FYI » Blog Archive » Happy Sunshine Week! FERPA guide ...: "Reporter's Guide to FERPA. Check out this new guide put together by members of the SPJ FOI Committee. It includes nuts and bolts of the law, great educational record story ideas, tales of horror, resources, etc. ...



FOI FYI - http://blogs.spjnetwork.org/foi/
"

Connecticut Correctional Officer Safety Forum: FOI exemption ...

Connecticut Correctional Officer Safety Forum: FOI exemption ...: "Brace and other government employees in a dozen categories had thought their home addresses were protected by a law limiting access to that information under the FOI law. But a Superior Court judge ruled last year that municipal data ...



Connecticut Correctional Officer... - http://correctionalofficersafety.blogspot.com/
"

Citizen FOI warriors: Taking on local government « The Art of Access

Citizen FOI warriors: Taking on local government « The Art of Access: "For Sunshine Week the American Society of News Editors honored citizen FOI warriors for their efforts to open up their governments. Check out the bios and you'll see that they are active citizens from Florida, New Jersey and Virginia ...



The Art of Access - http://theartofaccess.com/
"

Senate submission and hearing « FOI International

Senate submission and hearing « FOI International: "Close to year after the Australian house of reps passing the FOI reform Bills they are on their way through the Senate. I made another submission and was called to the senate hearing on March 15. It was interesting – sort of. ...



FOI International - http://jlidberg.wordpress.com/
"

Open-government laws allow you to track government spending

Open-government laws allow you to track government spending: "The Virginia Freedom of Information Act allows you to dig for information, although it does not require officials to create a record. ...


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"

EDITORIAL: Sunshine Week an opportunity to celebrate — and encourage — open ...

EDITORIAL: Sunshine Week an opportunity to celebrate — and encourage — open ...: "American journalists have and must continue to be the champions of open government but journalists also have to champion objectivity and fairness as well.


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"

A light on dark places

A light on dark places: "Canada, too, compiles reports about human rights abuses in Afghanistan, but they are not routinely made public. Those obtained through Access to Information ...


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"

Secrecy as exception

Secrecy as exception: "Open government, with its inner workings transparent and accessible to all, is and should forever be part of the bedrock core of this republic's ...


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"

COMMENTARY: You have a right to know what government is doing

COMMENTARY: You have a right to know what government is doing: "The Web site also features detailed information on how to file a Freedom of Information Act request, as well as a blog by US Transportation Secretary Ray ...


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"

Draft FOI laws need refining: report

Draft FOI laws need refining: report: "Labor legislation before parliament proposes a number of reforms to Australia's Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. Under the bills, new public interest ...


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"

Sunshine Over Washington DC

Sunshine Over Washington DC: "We began this work on day one of the Administration, when the President issued a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government , calling for more ...


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"

Smith Bellerby: Freedom of Information (FOI)

Smith Bellerby: Freedom of Information (FOI): "I've just spent three hours compiling data in response to an FOI request from a newspaper reporter wanting mobile phone costs and details going back to 2006 for a couple of my local government clients, and no doubt there will be more ...



Smith Bellerby - http://smithbellerby.blogspot.com/
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Making Public Information Available Online: Rep. Israel Introduces the Public Online Information Act

Making Public Information Available Online: Rep. Israel Introduces the Public Online Information Act: "

Today, Representative Steve Israel introduced the Public Online Information Act, which if enacted would free a vast treasure trove of government information. All too often, information that the law requires be publicly available is hidden behind stone walls and paper barriers. POIA tears down these walls by:



  • Requiring Executive Branch agencies to publish publicly available information on the Internet in a timely fashion and in user-friendly formats.

  • Creating a multi-branch advisory committee to develop government-wide Internet publication guidelines.


This 24-page legislation has many details, which are nicely summarized in a 1-page description of the bill, a plain language version of the legislation, and in this video. In essence, POIA requires the Executive Branch to follow commonsense rules in making public information available online, and encourages all three branches to work together with the public to develop online disclosure best practices.


My colleague Bill Allison blogs about some of the information that POIA will make available online and why doing so is important, and Clay Johnson, the head of Sunlight Labs, breaks down why POIA is important to the technology community.


POIA is the result of a lot of effort from many people. Representative Israel’s staff have been working on this legislation for months, with assistance from Sunlight and others. Those efforts have paid off, as a coalition of more than 25 organizations today is calling for Congress to hold hearings on POIA.


We at Sunlight have long believed that for information to be truly publicly available, it should also be online — our reform agenda lists as one of its principles “public means online.” The idea for this legislation comes directly from a panel discussion at the Personal Democracy Forum conference in 2009 where Andrew Rasiej (co-founded of PDF and a senior technology advisor to Sunlight) asked Rep. Israel about turning this idea into legislation.


Full resources on the Public Online Information Act are available at ThePOIA.org. Also, follow the conversation on Twitter at #thePOIA – you can use the short link http://bit.ly/thePOIA as well.


"

Sunshine: Be active; demand transparency and open government

Sunshine: Be active; demand transparency and open government: "A cornerstone to this ideal is the commitment to an open and transparent government, and to the freedom of information. Through Saturday, the country will ...


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"

Transparency Around the World

Transparency Around the World: "

It’s Sunshine Week again, and in that spirit I want to share a recent story about open government. Two weeks ago, the chief of staff for a member of the Republic of Korea Assembly looked over at me and, through a translator, said he was going to tell me why their political system is better than America’s.


It was an interesting moment for me. At the meeting were three additional National Assembly staffers, and I listened attentively as the translator related the gist of the argument:



  • Corporations in South Korea are prohibited from spending money on political activity.

  • Individuals can spend up to $5,000 per year on Assembly races, and they can only give to four candidates per year.

  • Any spending above $3,000 must be disclosed.


How did I find myself in this situation? For starters, it wasn’t the first time! One of the many pleasant aspects about working at the Sunlight Foundation is the simple act of talking about open government with other interested parties. In this case, it was a delegation of staffers from Korea. The trip was arranged by World Learning, as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program administered by the U.S. State Department. Yesterday’s was the fifth such meeting I’ve participated in since I started at Sunlight—previously, my colleagues and I discussed transparency with a delegation of Dutch officials, an activist/videographer from Australia, a political science professor from Colombia, and officials from Latin America.


I was a little playful in that last paragraph, but the meetings are more than just “pleasant.” According to the State Department, almost “300 IVLP alumni are current or former Heads of Government or Chiefs of State.” Alumni include British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Last year alone, more than 4,400 people visited the U.S. through the program, and 190,000 have participated since 1940.


Ambassador Kenton Keith is the Senior Vice President of Meridian International Center, one of seven program agencies that facilitate IVLP for the State Department. He told me U.S. embassies around the world select participants: “These people are selected because the embassies regard them as people of either present or near future importance to areas of interest to the United States.” They then spend 2-3 weeks in the United States for meetings with counterparts and for general orientation.


“They have a several-day presentation in Washington with government, NGOs and appropriate bodies, and then they go to other cities in the country,” Kenton said. “When visitors go out into the country they are hosted by a network of volunteer groups under the umbrella of the National Council of International Visitors. They help them to get appointments with the people they need to see, and to get a feel for the society, the culture and the values of the United States.”


Kenton describes IVLP as one of the “most valuable kinds of programs that we operate as a country.” He told me participants can be anything from journalists to scientists, teachers, politicians and museum directors. “They obviously become familiar with the United States,” he said, “an important country to most anybody in the world, and are often able to seize important networking opportunities with people in the same field and who have the same interests.”


Not every meeting I attended was part of the IVLP, but they all have provided an incredible array of benefits for our organization. Most notably, we learn about the ways officials practice open government in different countries. When we met with the delegation from Latin America, for example, we learned that some countries have FOIA laws that are significantly better for citizens. In Mexico, all requests for public documents (think FOIA) are posted online. In other countries, all requested documents are posted online. Here in America, you can use the FOIA process to see what others people have requested (a nice little trick of journalists to avoid getting scooped), but the only person who can see the results is the person who submitted the request in the first place.


Aside from the policy perspectives these meetings can bring to light, they also provide the basis for some incredible best practices discussions and allow participants to forge collaborative partnerships. I met last year with professor Monica Pachon Buitrago of the University of the Andes. She was developing a Web site to track members of the Colombian legislature, something similar to OpenCongress.org. The site, CongresoVisible.org, is now up and running. We can learn from one another, by sharing which site features are most useful to readers or swapping code modules. When an open-government advocate from Australia was in D.C., we discussed some of the challenges he faces in that country: Generating interest among citizens, convincing officials that that a transparent government is good for them, and creating partnerships with other organizations and the media in Australia. Turns out, those are very similar to the challenges we have here in America.


As we prepare to launch our campaign, we’re having similar discussions with individuals across the country. Activists, bloggers, and citizens are asking how they can help make their local and state governments more open, accessible and accountable. One of the best ways of figuring that out is to see how others have succeeded.


Which brings us back to the gentlemen from the Republic of Korea. The delegates were genuinely interested in the way members of the U.S. House of Representatives disclose office expenditures, and any impact that disclosure has had on Members or staff. We discussed the White House visitor logs, and Paul’s story last month using the logs to examine the PhRMA deal. Finally, I answered some questions about the Citizens United decision: What it means for our movement, what the proposed legislative responses might be, and how we look at campaign finance disclosure in the future.


That led into the exchange I described at the beginning, and a more in-depth dialogue on disclosure. We spoke about the differences between our two systems of government, and I hope they learned as much from me as I learned from them.


From what I understand, that’s the whole point.

"

Changes proposed to Maine's FOI law « Maine Press Association

Changes proposed to Maine's FOI law « Maine Press Association: "Changes proposed to Maine's FOI law. March 16, 2010 in Uncategorized. The conservative government watchdog group Maine Heritage Policy Center joined the Maine Civil Liberties Union for an outdoor press conference in celebration of ...



Maine Press Association - http://mainepress.wordpress.com/
"

Two Sunshine-filled days in DC… « The Art of Access

Two Sunshine-filled days in DC… « The Art of Access: "I attended FOI Day festivities at the Newseum yesterday, and today was a panelist on reducing FOI backlogs at the Collaboration for Government Secrecy's FOI Day. Now, as I loiter in the airport waiting to go home, a thought struck me: ...



The Art of Access - http://theartofaccess.com/
"

Auditor Mary Taylor celebrates Sunshine Week in Ohio

Auditor Mary Taylor celebrates Sunshine Week in Ohio: "Release of the manual coincides with the beginning of National Sunshine Week, March 14 – 20, which promotes open government and freedom of information. ...


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"

Citizenship and Immigration Canada Provides Open and Regular ...

Citizenship and Immigration Canada Provides Open and Regular ...: "Starting today, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will now post its most requested ... without having to make an Access to Information request. ...
"

PROMISES, PROMISES: Records not so open with Obama

PROMISES, PROMISES: Records not so open with Obama: "In a statement Tuesday during Sunshine Week, when news organizations promote open government and freedom of information, Obama noted the release of White ...


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"

'Sunshine Week' shines light on transparency

'Sunshine Week' shines light on transparency: "Announced in December 2009, the Open Government Directive instructs federal agencies to post “high-value” information online in easy-to-use formats. ...


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"

Councilors to get refresher in FOI

Councilors to get refresher in FOI: "By Steve Collins BRISTOL — In the wake of this month's fractured City Council session, where councilors wound up holding an executive session in public ...


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"

Oklahoma lawmaker exemption keeps public in the dark on records

Oklahoma lawmaker exemption keeps public in the dark on records: "At FOI Oklahoma's annual Oklahoma Sunshine conference Saturday, all six gubernatorial candidates vowed to support possible future legislation that would ...


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"

Pierre Report: Open Government Saves $10M

Pierre Report: Open Government Saves $10M: "Secrecy is expensive in government. Once the veil was lifted on this tax give-away program, we had a fighting chance to reform it. ...


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"

Colorado Sunshine Laws keep government transparent

Colorado Sunshine Laws keep government transparent: "This week, media across the country aim to open dialogue about the importance of the freedom of information and open government. ...


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"

Week seeks to let sun shine on government

Week seeks to let sun shine on government: "

UPI.com

Sunshine Week, which began Sunday, is a national initiative designed to open a dialog about an open government and freedom of information, its Web site said ...


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"

FOI council helps public with open government act

FOI council helps public with open government act: "RICHMOND — It won't get any easier this year for the public to scrutinize the voting records of General Assembly members, but that's not because Del. ...


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"

Celebrating an FOI Victory During Sunshine Week « The Art of Access

Celebrating an FOI Victory During Sunshine Week « The Art of Access: "Thought I'd also pass this link along highligting EXACTLY why the FOI Fund is such a swell idea. Sometimes, just promising to be there, should upfront costs balloon, is enough to keep the fight going and get those records! ...



The Art of Access - http://theartofaccess.com/
"

Sunshine Week « Tore Simonsen loves Eliza – Dollhouse

Sunshine Week « Tore Simonsen loves Eliza – Dollhouse: "This year the award recipient of the John R. Finnegan FOI award is Reed Anfinson the publisher of the Swift County Monitor. It is an award which is given to recognize work which demonstrates leadership and a commitment to the power of ...



Tore Simonsen loves Eliza - Dollhouse - http://toresimonsen.wordpress.com/
"

SUPREME COURT OF NOVA SCOTIA Citation: Peach v. Nova Scotia ...

SUPREME COURT OF NOVA SCOTIA Citation: Peach v. Nova Scotia ...: "Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; Privilege, waiver; Crown law, authority to waive privilege. Summary: ...
"

FOI council helps public with open government act

FOI council helps public with open government act: "Everett is executive director of the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council, a 10-year-old panel that helps people understand, apply and obey ...


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"

Sunshine bills merit passage

Sunshine bills merit passage: "New York's Freedom of Information and Open Meeting laws are nearly 30 years old. They are sound, vibrant laws, but they are in need of constant attention to ...


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"

EDITORIAL: Why information should be free

EDITORIAL: Why information should be free: "Brown, 1991 South Carolina has had some form of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws on the books since 1976. These laws are often called “Sunshine Laws” ...


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"

Celebrate open gov't during Sunshine Week

Celebrate open gov't during Sunshine Week: "The Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition has a terrific Web site. A new page includes summaries of the final determinations issued by the Office of ...


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"

It's your right to know

It's your right to know: "... public libraries, and other research groups to remind Americans of the importance to our democracy of open government and freedom of information. ...


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"

Canadian immigration to provide regular access to key departmental ...

Canadian immigration to provide regular access to key departmental ...: "

Visa Bureau

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will now post its most requested statistics on a ... without having to make an Access to Information request. ...
"

The freedom to scrutinise

The freedom to scrutinise: "

Public Service

Scottish public authorities have been warned they could face a barrage of freedom of information (FOI) requests as the public seek to scrutinise decisions ...


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"

Editorial: Government won't change without pressure

Editorial: Government won't change without pressure: "Even the president of the United States has called for more open government. Yet exemptions to Freedom of Information Act requests actually rose from the ...


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"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Animal rights activist using FOI laws to target universities

Animal rights activist using FOI laws to target universities: "

The Guardian

Several universities have already replied to the FOI requests. Steele said the information gathered would be used to publicise research and target ...


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"

Ore. AG leads push for government transparency

Ore. AG leads push for government transparency: ""Sunshine Week" begins on Sunday, a national initiative to talk about the importance of open government and freedom of information. ...


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"

Editorial: It's always your right to know

Editorial: It's always your right to know: "A lot of papers prepare special projects for the week in which they use the Freedom of Information Laws (FOIL) to get information, and he was looking for ...


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"

Court record battle persists

Court record battle persists: ""I'm a big proponent of open government, transparency and open meetings. We've got enough mistrust of government without hiding more things. ...


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"

Spending, tax information easy to find in towns, online

Spending, tax information easy to find in towns, online: "Today marks the beginning of Sunshine Week, a national initiative started in 2005 to shine a spotlight on open government, Freedom of Information laws and ...


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"

Unlocking data in Washington

Unlocking data in Washington: "During the presidential campaign of 2008, it was not usual for then-candidate Barack Obama to talk about transparency and the importance of open government. ...


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"

Post readers deserve a better online gateway to government data

Post readers deserve a better online gateway to government data: "Today, "freedom of information" has been expanded to encompass the right to instantly tap vast quantities of public information in electronic form. ...


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"

John Q. Public: The truth is still elusive

John Q. Public: The truth is still elusive: "Here are some questions about whether residents feel government in America is open and transparent or whether you think government is closed and secretive. ...


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"

Meeting behind closed doors can cause public ire

Meeting behind closed doors can cause public ire: "The Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council is a Richmond-based office with the expertise to help resolve disputes over FOIA issues. ...


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"

Our view: Erie Times-News sheds light on government operations

Our view: Erie Times-News sheds light on government operations: "Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law now has teeth, and the Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition is an excellent resource if you need help with ...


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"

Government information filters grow

Government information filters grow: ""It boggles the mind,” said Charles Davis, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition at the University of Missouri. ...


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"

Information is not truly public until it is on the Internet

Information is not truly public until it is on the Internet: "A new paradigm must emerge that shifts the burden from the public to request information using the Freedom of Information Act to the government to disclose ...


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"

Real open government still a goal, not a reality

Real open government still a goal, not a reality: "Today marks the first day of “Sunshine Week,” an annual national initiative to stress the importance of open government and freedom of information. ...


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"

State gets an F for public access

State gets an F for public access: "In 1998, the Better Government Association and the National Freedom of Information Coalition studied state laws requiring that citizens be able to see ...


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"

Hiding from the sun

Hiding from the sun: "... when both journalists and politicians tend to pontificate about the importance of the First Amendment, open government and freedom of information. ...


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"

More transparency

More transparency: "

Buffalo News

In the 40 years that have passed since the federal Freedom of Information Act became law, the feeling that government conduct and records belong in the ...


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"

FOIA-request audit shows response to Obama transparency pledge is uneven

FOIA-request audit shows response to Obama transparency pledge is uneven: "

Washington Post

"President Obama sent a clear message for freedom of information, and we found that agencies are talking the talk, just not yet walking the walk," said ...


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"

Sunshine Week 2010: Sunshine is the Best Disinfectant

Sunshine Week 2010: Sunshine is the Best Disinfectant: "

Kansas Watchdog

Sunshine Week marks an annual effort to focus attention on the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print ...


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"

Michael Barnhart: State, local officials should embrace transparency

Michael Barnhart: State, local officials should embrace transparency: "... are essential to our form of government. State and local officials owe their constituents transparency. It's time to embrace open government fully.


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"

Ain't No Sunshine

Ain't No Sunshine: "Unfortunately, they're not real compliant with the state's Public Officers Law and Freedom of Information Law either. This article is provided a one-time ...


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"

State's guardian of public access helps guide new law

State's guardian of public access helps guide new law: "Q. What is the state of open government in Illinois? A. Well, we started in the Dark Ages. I think everyone would agree we have a 25-year track record of no ...


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"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Budget and Deficit Transparency — Making Government Transparent and Accountable - Sunlight Foundation Blog

http://blog.sunlightfoundation.com/2010/03/12/budget-and-deficit-transparency/

Guest view: Sunshine package will improve government transparency - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch

http://www.uticaod.com/guest/x313362539/Guest-view-Sunshine-package-will-improve-government-transparency

The cleansing power of light | Editorials | Fort Worth, Arlington, Northeast Tarrant editoria...

http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/03/12/2037077/the-cleansing-power-of-light.html

thestar.com iPhone : Travers: In Ottawa, even deciding what's secret is secret

http://www.thestar.com/iphone/news/canada/article/779406--travers-in-ottawa-even-deciding-what-s-secret-is-secret

Open government is all about your right to know | visaliatimesdelta.com | Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register

http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/article/20100313/OPINION09/3130339/Open+government+is+all+about+your+right+to+know

Public's right to know at heart of Sunshine Week | thenews-messenger.com | The News-Messenger

http://www.thenews-messenger.com/article/20100313/OPINION01/3130312/-1/newsfront2/Public-s-right-to-know-at-heart-of-Sunshine-Week

News : Bonanza FOI Filings Investigated

http://www.swtimes.com/articles/2010/03/13/news/news031310_11.txt

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Transparency Campaign: Who We Are — Making Government Transparent and Accountable - Sunlight Foundation Blog

http://blog.sunlightfoundation.com/2010/03/11/the-transparency-campaign-who-we-are/


Sent from my iPod

Twitter: encourage whistleblowers? offer them a % of the recovered funds

RT @AfriNomad @GlobalIntegrity Want to encourage whistleblowers? Rwanda offers them a % of the recovered funds http://ow.ly/1a721

sent via TweetDeck

On Twitter: http://twitter.com/mbelinsky/status/10365940714
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Developing Hyper-Local Integrity Systems? : space for transparency

http://blog.transparency.org/2010/03/11/developing-hyper-local-integrity-systems/


Sent from my iPod

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Freedom of Information forum Friday


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Freedom of Information forum Friday

Sunshine Week in South Carolina celebrates open government and citizens' access to public records and public meetings. At 6 pm, in the Anderson County Civic ...


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Sent from my iPod

Open government talk buzzes across Canada


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Open government talk buzzes across Canada

The first area of concern is security and privacy, said David Eaves, negotiation and strategy consultant, expert in public policy and open systems and an ...


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Sent from my iPod

Citizen accuses supervisors of violating FOI Act


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Citizen accuses supervisors of violating FOI Act

By TIM DAVIS/Star-Tribune Editor An Axton woman accused the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors this week of violating Virginia's Freedom of ...


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Sent from my iPod

Week illuminates Oklahoma's open government

Week illuminates Oklahoma's open government: "A nonprofit educational organization called FOI Oklahoma Inc. is hosting a conference in Oklahoma City on Saturday to kick off the week, which takes place ...


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"

Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia

Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia: "

Australia.TO

“The Government is already implementing a number of reforms, including in freedom of information and privacy, and is also looking at the innovative use of ...
"

LWV urges everyone to celebrate Sunshine Week

 
 

Sent to you by Greg via Google Reader:

 
 

via Google Alerts - transparency or "freedom of information" or "open government" by Lake Oswego Review on 3/11/10

... 20 is Sunshine Week (held around Madison's birthday), a national initiative to promote the importance of open government and freedom of information. ...
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Things you can do from here: