Today in OpenGov: Time to help the FOIA ombudsman, Interior


DID YOU GET THE READ RECEIPT? By not substantively responding to repeated requests from Office of Government Information Services to mediate disputed FOIA requests, the Department of the Interior is effectively sticking a thumb in the eye of the ombudsman that Congress established to provide independent oversight and arbitration over public records requests. The department is showing disrespect for the spirit and intention of the Open Government Act, and it should stop.


  • Lisa Stiffler reported on the OPEN Government Data Act, including an interview with your faithful correspondent. [Geekwire]
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee announced that it will vote on the open data proposal next Wednesday, May 25.
  • The House voted forward an amendment that would subject the National Security Counsel to FOIA. [Free Beacon]
  • The U.S Department of Justice released its assessment of the 2016 FOIA compliance reports. [EPIC]
  • Eric Lichtblau: “A former aide to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state testified behind closed doors for two hours Wednesday in the first in a series of depositions that are likely to raise more questions about Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server just as she prepares for an election campaign against Donald J. Trump.” [New York Times]
  • Sunlight was looking forward to hearing 18F’s proposal for an open identifier to replace the DUNS number next week at the DATA Act Summit. Sadly, a keynote by an 18F staff on the topic is no longer on the schedule.

State and Local

  • A state senator in South Carolina has placed a hold on a bill that would reform the state’s open records law. [Post and Courier]
  • California is considering a bill that could extend copyright to government works. [Creative Commons]
  • Here’s an interesting look at the complex relationship between data and cities. [CityLab]
  • Susan Montoya Bryan: “An audit by the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government found it took anywhere from two days to several weeks for many government offices in the state to fulfill public records requests and more than a dozen failed to respond at all.” [AP, via Sun News]


  • Venezuela is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It’s no accident that it’s a failed state, but the expanding humanitarian crisis is devastating for the people caught in the middle. [Washington Post]
  • If you’re looking for an anatomy of what’s gone wrong in Venezuela, make sure to read this feature. [The Atlantic]
  • A global group of 90 women working in open government, open data and civic tech have launched a new “Open Heroines” blog.

    We will use this blog to contribute to a variety of topics that are related to the open government, civic tech and open data sphere from around the world. The majority of the texts will be dedicated to the challenges women face in these ecosystems and how to address them — from gender data to the role of women in the ‘open’ space. We call for all of our allies — regardless of gender — to share, comment and critique our posts so we can tackle these issues together.

    If you are a woman, queer, cis or trans, and would like to contribute a post or to join their slack channel, email [Medium]

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