2Day in #OpenGov 6/6/2013


by Carrie Tian, policy intern


  • A top secret court order showed that the NSA ordered Verizon to turn over all call records for a three month period and forbade it from revealing the order. Because the records only contain metadata, such as length of call, location data, and the numbers of both parties, no individual warrants are required for accessing that information. (Guardian) A senior White House official stated that the information obtained is “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats”. (Washington Post)
  • As conservative groups testified before the House about unwarranted scrutiny by the IRS, many of their own websites include explicitly partisan events and information. The crux of the debate is interpreting the IRS’s stipulation that political activity cannot be a 501(c)(4) organization’s “primary” activity. (POLITICO)
  • The Connecticut state legislature approved a bill restricting access to information about homicide victims after the Newtown shootings highlighted the need for clarification. While records like 911 calls have been available under FOIA, the bill blocks the release of photos, videos, and portions of the calls that “describe the condition of the victim”. (Hartford Courant)
  • A panel on gun research convened by President Obama has issued its recommendations. Among them is the need for a count of total guns in the nation, though this could stray dangerously close to becoming a national gun registry, which is banned by federal law. (New York Times)
  • In response to a petition under the federal Data Quality Act, the CDC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will revise their information about helmets, removing current claims that helmets prevent 85% of head injuries. Though that figure was obtained in an early study, subsequent studies saw only weaker connections. (Center for Regulatory Effectiveness)