Administration Seeks to Ensure Information is Accessible for People with Disabilities

The Obama administration is working to ensure that government information is accessible for people with disabilities, the White House announced in a statement last week. Accessibility is a critical element to protecting all Americans' right to know, and the administration is right to seek to improve it.

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Freedom of Information is a Human Right, UN Body Says

Access to government information is a human right, according to a commentary issued today by the United Nations' Human Rights Committee. The comment is the most comprehensive statement to date embracing freedom of information as integral to human rights under international law.

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Federal Website Reform Efforts Moving Forward

The Obama administration's reform of federal websites moved forward yesterday, but without shedding much light on what impact the effort will have on open government. The effort, which was launched in a June 13 memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is meant to cut costs while improving service.

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Agencies Will Revise Their FOIA Regulations (...Or Not)

The Spring 2011 Unified Agenda was released today, reporting agencies' regulatory changes to be considered in the next six months. According to the Unified Agenda, several agencies intend to revise their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations this year, but there are reasons to take that with a grain of salt.

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Do We Need an App for That?

The General Services Administration (GSA) last week launched the Making Mobile Gov project to encourage agencies to offer more services for mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

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Spending Bill Would Hide Consumer Safety Risks, Money in Politics

Consumer product safety risks would be concealed and influence peddling in government contracting would remain out of public view under the provisions of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 spending bill approved today by the House Financial Services and General Government appropriations subcommittee.

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Issa, Cummings, Devaney Agree: We Need E-Gov Funding

In a hearing on federal spending transparency which just concluded, House Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) entered our letter signed by more than 30 transparency groups in support of restoring the Electronic Government Fund into the hearing record. The E-Gov Fund supports important government websites such as USAspending.gov, the IT Dashboard, Data.gov, and Performance.gov.

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Obama Administration Reaches Plea Deal with NSA Whistleblower

National Security Agency sealThe Obama administration agreed to drop its controversial Espionage Act case against former National Security Agency (NSA) employee Thomas Drake, according to reports yesterday. Instead, Drake will plead guilty to exceeding authorized use of a computer, a misdemeanor. The deal calls for no jail time or fine, with up to one year of probation.

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Financial Stability Oversight Council Proposes FOIA Regulations

The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) has proposed regulations to implement the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The council was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to monitor risks to the financial system.

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Congress Extends Patriot Act, No New Oversight

Congress voted yesterday to extend three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act until June 2015 without adopting any new oversight or transparency provisions. President Obama has signed the bill.

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