Peering Behind the Curtain: Consumer Protection Agency Proposes Public Credit Card Complaint Database

In December, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed a public online database of consumer complaints about credit cards. The database would empower consumer choices on credit cards and position the agency as a leader in government transparency. However, the financial industry opposes disclosure and may use its considerable political influence in an effort to block public access to the information.

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Government Transparency in 2011: Moving the Chains

Heading into the holiday season, many Americans think not just of gifts and snowdrifts, but also of another winter tradition: football. As it happens, gridiron analogies are a good way to think about the year's events in the arena of government transparency and right-to-know. In March, OMB Watch published an assessment of President Obama's first two seasons as coach, which showed remarkable progress for Team Transparency. Throughout 2011, Obama and his staff made strong decisions, but there were also a few setbacks along the way.

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Global Studies Highlight U.S. Transparency Strengths, Weaknesses

Several recently published studies compare the policy and practice of transparency in the United States and other countries. Such studies provide useful measures of U.S. openness relative to real-world conditions, in addition to highlighting global best practices and alternative approaches. The U.S. ranked in the middle range in the studies, demonstrating how other countries have met the challenges of 21st-century transparency while the U.S. has lagged in some areas.

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Administration Identifies Unclassified Information to be Safeguarded

On Nov. 4, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the initial registry of controlled unclassified information (CUI) categories. When fully implemented, the categories listed in the CUI registry will be the only labels that agencies can use to identify unclassified information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls.

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Administration and Global Partners Forge Ahead with Open Government Agenda

The launch of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) on Sept. 20 marks a new era for open government in the United States and abroad. The national action plans released by the OGP founding countries offer the potential to create more responsive governments that better serve the needs and aspirations of their peoples.

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Building a 21st Century FOIA System

The Obama administration is seeking to use technology to better support the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) system. The effort could improve access to government information, empower Americans, and strengthen democratic accountability.

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Commentary: Progress, Pitfalls in Addressing Government Secrecy 10 Years after 9/11

Sunday marked the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This is an appropriate time to look back on what happened to government openness and access to information in the aftermath of the attacks. It seems that after 9/11, government officials stopped believing that Americans could be trusted with information – about their communities, about risks and dangers they could face, and about government actions on their behalf. Withholding information from citizens is a slippery slope for any democracy, yet over the past decade, government secrecy has expanded under the misguided belief that sacrificing citizen access to government information would somehow make us more secure.

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Agency Rules Could Undermine CUI Reforms

A proposed Department of Defense (DOD) rule has the open government community concerned that agencies may try to undermine the Obama administration's emerging controlled unclassified information (CUI) system before it is even formally in place.

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Administration Lays Foundation for New CUI System

Seven months after President Obama issued an executive order on controlled unclassified information (CUI), the outlines of a new CUI system are taking shape. On June 9, the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) CUI office released initial guidance on implementing the order.

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Declassification Board Seeks to Transform System

The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) is seeking public comments on a series of draft papers offering recommendations on reforming the classification system. President Obama called for the recommendations for "more fundamental transformation" in tandem with his 2009 executive order on classification.

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