Today in #OpenGov 8/18/2014


Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including the departure of the US deputy Chief Technology Officer, a ramping up of Russian internet surveillance, and big billionaire dollars being dropped in local races nationwide.

A newspaper with the headline Open Gov National News

  • U.S. deputy Chief Technology Officer, Nicole Wong, announced her departure from the White House. Formerly of Twitter and Google, Wong’s ties to industry were often criticized by groups like the Center for Digital Democracy, which is calling for a successor with fewer links to technology companies. (The Hill)
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry was indicted for abuse of power in office. He is accused of trying to coerce a Democratic official who oversees an agency that investigates public corruption to resign after she was arrested on a drunken driving charge. He threatened to veto millions from her public integrity unit if she didn’t, leading to criticism he had overstepped his authority. (Politico)
  • A federal appeals court ruling may mean US whistleblower protections will not apply to whistleblown issues abroad, nor foreigners who disclose instances of wrongdoing. (Wall Street Journal)

International News

  • Russia’s internet surveillance capabilities increased dramatically, following a new decree that requires social networks to install equipment that gives the Russian Federal Security Service backdoor access to people’s online activities. Previously, only ISPs had to install this backdoor. (Global Voices)
  • The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights criticized Somalia’s Federal Government abuse of power and the law, following allegations that the government intimidated and closed independent radio stations, and arrested journalists. (All Africa)
  • Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced that all news websites that do not obtain government-issued licenses will be blocked nationwide. The announcement ironically took place on Iran’s “Journalist’s Day,” a day meant to recognize the work of reporters and the news media. (Global Voices)

State and Local News

  • As the 2014 midterm elections approach, billionaires are trying to buy several Main Streets as money from the likes of Michael Bloomberg, David and Charles Koch, and Tom Steyer flows into an array of local races. (Politico)
  • Wisconsin open records advocates and municipal leaders have brokered a truce in a fight over police record redactions, creating a request form that allows the public to get clean copies if they reveal who they are and why they want the documents. (Washington Times)
  • Following a public outcry over the detention of journalists in Ferguson, MO, policemen in northern California were also accused of ordering reporters and bystanders to delete any footage of an arrest. (Techdirt)

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