Today in #OpenGov 7/25/14


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including recently released guidelines for placing individuals on the No-Fly List, difficulties in building Ireland’s open data portal, and ethics commission interference from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov

National News

  • Internal rules governing placement on the No-Fly List were published on Wednesday by the online magazine The Intercept over objections from Attorney General Eric Holder. The Obama Administration has argued that release of the list would permit terrorists to circumvent screening procedures that would prevent them from entering the United States. (New York Times)
  • The Obama White House has often claimed to be the most transparent in history, but journalists who cover the White House would beg to differ. The lack of access to the president has been a longstanding complaint of White House reporters, and the most recent outcry concerned a lack of access to Senate and House Majority PAC events that the president headlined. As democratized media decreases reliance on journalistic news outlets, however, the trend is unlikely to reverse itself soon. (Washington Post)
  • Sens. Tom Coburn and Claire McCaskill are co-sponsoring a bill that would eliminate the National Technical Information Service, a division of the Department of Commerce. Pointedly named the “Let Me Google That For You Act,” the bill’s co-sponsors contended in a hearing on Wednesday that the IT services provided by NTIS are duplicative. (NextGov)
  • The number of investigations at the Office of Congressional Ethics has dropped precipitously in the past two years. While some attribute the decline to greater selectivity in complaints pursued, few seem to believe that the decrease is a result of members of Congress behaving more ethically. (Washington Post)

International News

  • A recent European Court of Justice ruling makes it more difficult for the Council of the European Union to deny access to information about international trade and law. The case in question involves access to information on E.U.-U.S. financial transaction data-sharing agreements written in 2007, but offers the possibility of shedding more light on ongoing negotiations, such as those for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which resumed this week. (Access Info)
  • In an effort to make more government data open and accessible, Ireland recently established an open data portal modeled after those in the US and UK, but substantial problems remain in getting agencies and other state actors to release structured and machine-readable data. Minister Brendan Howlin warned that the data portal, still in its early stages, risked becoming simply a data dump without better data quality controls. (Irish Times)
  • New South Wales Minister for Finance and Services, Dominic Perrottet, announced the launch of an improved open data dashboard for the provincial government. The Minister noted a rapid rise in demand for government data over the past year, which saw a two-fold increase in API calls and millions of requests from various stakeholders. (ZDNet)

State and Local News

  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo established the Moreland Commission last year to investigate ethics violations in Albany. Less than nine months into the commission’s proposed eighteen-month run, Cuomo disbanded the commission in March, but an investigation from the New York Times reveals that Cuomo’s office may have intervened frequently in the commission’s work to protect those close to the governor. (New York Times)
  • John O’Brien, former state probation commissioner for Massachusetts, was convicted yesterday in US District Court in a sweeping corruption case. O’Brien, along with two of his employees, was found guilty of handing out patronage jobs to candidates sponsored by state legislators. (Boston Globe)

Events Today

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