Today in #OpenGov 7/2/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis including the announcement of a nominee for VA Secretary, civil society-building in Myanmar, and a court case on the public records status of state officials’ private communications.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov

National News

  • President Obama tapped former Proctor and Gamble chief executive Robert A. McDonald to lead the scandal-rocked Department of Veterans’ Affairs in the wake of Eric Shinseki’s departure. McDonald, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, garnered praise from both sides of the aisle in the wake of the president’s announcement. (Washington Post)
  • The Electronic Freedom Foundation, a longtime skeptic of the Federal Communications Commissions regulation of digital technologies and services, has substantially revised its stance in light of recent debates over net neutrality. EFF argues that an FCC with carefully circumscribed powers could be helpful in preserving the neutral Internet. (Deeplinks)
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a draft report addressing the digital forensic science challenges associated with cloud computing. While cloud storage could allow for greater access to data, the technical nature of cloud computing creates additional, and largely unexplored challenges in locating and preserving evidence for use in investigations and trials. The draft report is available for public comment. (GCN)
  • The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), a federal privacy watchdog, has released a draft report finding the NSA’s spying on foreign communications under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act to be legal. By contrast, in a report from this January the PCLOB criticized the domestic wiretap program as “lack[ing] a viable legal foundation.” (The Hill)

International News

  • Nonprofit Burma Center Prague launched MyCitizen today, a mobile application and online platform that will cultivate problem-solving networks of citizens and NGOs in Myanma civil society. While technological development has followed the democratic reforms, little yet has been done to leverage technology to grow civil society. (Personal Democracy Media)
  • Former president of France and 2017 presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation today by the prosecutor’s office in order to ascertain if the then-president had used his political influence to get information about an investigation of irregularities in the funding of his 2007 presidential campaign. This is the sixth investigation opened since Sarkozy left office in 2012. (The Guardian)
  • Even as the United States plans to provide $500 million in support to moderate Syrian rebels, the Free Syrian Army appears to have undergone a minor power scuffle at the end of last week. Long dogged by allegations of corruption, FSA leaders were fired and un-fired in short order, although sources are not clear on what exactly transpired. (Al-Jazeera America)

State and Local News

  • The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case regarding whether the personal emails and texts of public employees are subject to public records law disclosure requirements. While some personal communications at the federal level are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, a myriad of rulings in lower courts has spawned a patchwork of disclosure practices at the state and local level. (Ars Technica)
  • New York State Senator Thomas Libous faces charges of lying to the FBI in a investigation into whether the state senator had used his connections with lobbying firms to arrange for a position and salary for his son. The indictment comes as the most recent incident in a string of ethics violations by state elected officials. (Washington Times)

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