Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Sunlight Foundation Blog (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

White House advisory on open government asks the right questions

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

By The Sunlight Foundation

The 2016 White House memorandum on open government plans. (Image credit: White House)

On Thursday, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy published its long-awaited guidance for federal agencies to comply with President Barack Obama’s 2009 Open Government Directive. The guidance has been stuck in the clearance process for many months, leading Sunlight to call for the White House to release guidance on open government plans.

While this is long overdue, we’re still thrilled to see a comprehensive set of guidelines from U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith that will not only empower agencies to assess their own progress, but for the broader public to learn more about the initiatives that the U.S. government has pursued.

We are disappointed, however, that the memorandum was not accompanied by a new version of OMB’s open government plan — the last time that document was updated was 2010. We’re also disappointed to see that the guidance was released as a PDF with inactive hyperlinks, although that’s a minor issue in the broader context of these issues.

Now that federal agencies have received the memorandum, including OMB, they have just two months to work on answering the mandates and questions posed in it. According to the guidance, updated plans should:

More than six years on from the Open Government Directive, the specificity of what “open government” means in the federal government in 2016 can been meaningfully explored through the prism of these questions.

Consider the topics that the guidance directs agencies to explore: Open data. Proactive disclosures. Privacy. Whistleblower protection. Websites. Open innovation methods. Access to scientific data and publications. Open source software. Spending information and the DATA Act. Participation in transparency initiatives. Public notice. Records management. Freedom of Information Act requests. Congressional requests. Declassification. Public participation and collaboration. A “Flagship Initiative” and /open webpages.

While the president’s pledge to run the “most transparent government in history” has proven to be both controversial and difficult to achieve, we expect to see an accounting result from this guidance that will not only inform about what has been done in their name but provide a foundation for continued efforts in the next administration.

If the result of the self-evaluation are weak or incomplete plans that highlight how agencies have fallen short in achieving their goals, that will be a useful outcome for building upon those lessons. If the results show meaningful progress, it will be a useful indicator of whether this approach to making government more transparent and accountable is worth preserving, extending and strengthening. If agencies do not provide any plan at all, that will serve as its own answer for the priority the Open Government Directive has occupied in their governance.

Corinna Zarek, the deputy United States chief technology officer for open government, asked the public for open government success stories in the White House blog post introducing the guidance. She requested that you send them to the Open Government discussion group, email [email protected] or tweet them and tag @OpenGov. Zarek also encouraged the public to share ideas that agencies should include in their Open Government Plans directly with those agencies or to share them with the White House using those channels. We hope you will do so.

Sunlight will be reading and evaluating each open government plan as they come online and will follow up on Sept. 17 to see how the agencies have complied.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation.

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)

Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!

Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video).

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.