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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Senators Seek Medicare Transparency

A long-running dispute about access to Medicare claims data could be resolved by bills pending in the Senate. Proponents assert the measures could combat fraud and abuse in one of the federal government's most expensive programs and might also help improve health outcomes and consumer decision making.

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Reports Detail Agency Efforts to Improve FOIA Implementation

New reports from federal agencies' chief FOIA officers reveal efforts to improve the performance of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) system. The reports show that many agencies have taken steps to improve their FOIA performance over the last year but that many challenges persist despite these advances.

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Seal Trumps Speech in False Claims Act Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently ruled against three public interest groups that sought to limit the government's ability to gag whistleblowers who file complaints under the False Claims Act (FCA). The ruling upheld a lower court decision to dismiss the suit.

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Sunshine Week Brings Bevy of Transparency Announcements

America celebrated Sunshine Week 2011 between March 13-19. The White House and federal agencies announced several new transparency initiatives during the week, and Congress held hearings to examine government openness and introduced new transparency legislation. The open government community also released new reports examining transparency efforts within government.

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OMB Watch Assesses Obama Administration's Progress on Open Government Recommendations

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2011—OMB Watch today published an in-depth analysis of the Obama administration's progress on a wide-ranging set of open government recommendations. The recommendations were crafted by a diverse group of organizations and individuals as part of the 21st Century Right to Know Project, which was coordinated by OMB Watch in 2007 and 2008.

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