Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis including the latest from the Snowden files, a possible cover-up of organized pedophilia by the British Home Office, and unintended consequences of a new open meeting law in Vermont.
- In the latest batch of revelations from files released by Edward Snowden, the Washington Post reported that the majority of users caught in the NSA dragnet are civilians. The contents of the intercepted communications included résumés, medical records, academic transcripts, and more. (Washington Post)
- Foreign organizations have expressed reticence to work with American tech companies in light of recent revelations about their complicity in NSA spying. In order to combat these concerns, Microsoft announced the creation of a Transparency Center, where buyers can review source code and check that no backdoors have been written into the code. (Government Technology)
- According the the National Archives and Records Administration’s intra-governmental survey, some agencies in the federal government, including Commerce’s department-level operations and the DOJ’s Federal Bureau of Prisons, are at high risk of losing email records. (GovExec)
- As the British Home Office comes under fire for losing or destroying more than 100 files on organized pedophilia, Lord Tebbit, a former cabinet minister in the Thatcher administration, has claimed that there may have been a cover-up of child abuse allegations against politicians in the 1980s. (Guardian)
- Australian law enforcement agencies have begun ordering phone companies to hand over call metadata of thousands of customers in a geographical area over a certain time period. The so-called “tower dump” technique is ostensibly used only as a last resort in investigations with few leads otherwise. (Sydney Morning Herald)
- The city of Kuala Lumpur is releasing 3-D maps of approximately 1700 of the city’s “high risk” hill slopes. Overlaying geographical data on slopes, waterways, and roads with rainfall data, the system can help government officials and real estate developers identify locations at risk of catastrophic landslides. (FutureGov)
State and Local News
- In response to Vermont’s new open meetings law, some towns, concerned about their ability to comply with the new open meeting requirements online, have elected to take down their websites instead. (Washington Times)
- A federal judge has ruled that Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald’s email files are federal records that may not be released without the consent of the government. Fitzgerald, who serves on FirstNet, a federal board responsible building a high-speed broadband network for emergency responders, was found to have used his county email for FirstNet business. (Washington Times)
Events This Week
- Dark Money in Politics: Panel Discussion. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Tues., 7/8. 10:00 am. Room SVC-201, the Capitol Visitor Center, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
- You’re Gonna Need a Warrant for That: The Path to Digital Privacy Reform. Cato Institute. Tues., 7/8. 4:00 pm. Hayek Auditorium, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.
- VA Whistleblowers: Exposing Inadequate Service Provided to Veterans and Ensuring Appropriate Accountability. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Tues., 7/8. 7:30 pm. 334 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C.
- Outside, In: Big Data and the Policy Behind Big Ideas. Politico. Wed., 7/9. 12:00 pm. The W Hotel, 515 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
- The Future of Transportation Technology and System Finance: Leveraging Information Technology to Charge Drivers by the Mile and Solve the Highway Trust Fund Crisis. Center for American Progress. Fri., 7/11. 10:00 am. 1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, D.C.
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