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.
On Oct. 17, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill to strengthen safety standards and increase public availability of inspection results and enforcement actions related to the nation’s 2.3 million miles of pipelines. The legislation was sparked by a series of deadly explosions in 2010 and 2011 that drew scrutiny to the safety of gas and oil pipelines.
A critical but neglected transparency law could be updated for the 21st century if a new congressional proposal succeeds. The Privacy Act Modernization for the Information Age Act (S. 1732), introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) on Oct. 18, would update the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a). The Privacy Act governs what actions federal agencies must take when collecting personal information on American citizens and how agencies use and share it.
After more than 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally determined that trichloroethylene (TCE), a chlorinated solvent used primarily for removing grease from metal, causes cancer. The assessment was finalized by the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), an important but troubled program that is tasked with providing the public with critical information about dangerous chemical exposures.
In recent years, government has increasingly embraced the proactive disclosure of information and created online tools to increase transparency. But how do Americans discover that information? Who helps them learn how to use complex government databases and tools? The answer may be a surprisingly familiar one: libraries.
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.
On Sept. 2, 30 U.S. public interest groups joined civil society organizations around the globe in demanding that their national governments improve access to environmental and public health information and increase public participation in environmental policymaking. These organizations are calling on their governments to make such commitments at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in order for people around the world to be able to effectively use environmental information to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from pollution, toxic chemicals, and other hazards.