Today in OpenGov: Use FOIA demand to drive open data disclosure


BEST PRACTICE: Governments should connect the demand expressed in freedom of information requests to the proactive disclosure of open data. [READ MORE]

HELP US OUT: The Office for Government Information Services, is asking the public affairs offices of federal agencies to publish Systems of Records Notices that include routine-use language. Without those notices, the federal FOIA ombudsman cannot view a FOIA file unless the requester prints a form, signs it, scans it and returns it. To date, 13 Cabinet-level departments and 11 agencies have published such a notice, but dozens remain. On behalf of the requester community, we urge them all to allow routine use as soon as possible. [READ MORE]

OPEN UP! Opening Congressional Research reports to the public online is in the public interest. We hope Congress agrees. [READ MORE]

FINALLY. On July 1, we called for the White House to release guidance on open government plans. Today, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy published the guidance. We’ll have more to say about it tomorrow, but it’s great to see this finally online. []


  • A federal court concluded that individuals have privacy interests that preclude the release of their mugshots under the Freedom of Information Act. [Washington Post]
  • The Huffington Post published an important feature on death in American jails. The team collected news reports, public records, filed FOIA requests and called hundreds of jails. The resulting database is incomplete, however, so they’re asking the public to help them document jail deaths. [Highline]
  • Political parties collecting donations for the conventions has become more controversial than ever. [American Prospect]
  • The Campaign Legal Center on why corporations are in the business of funding national political party conventions at all. [CLC]
  • Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican party, has taken a lot of positions on funding his campaign. [NPR]
  • A new agriculture reform bill would make the budgets of marketing programs — so-called “checkoff groups” — public. [Guardian]

State and Local

  • What are the secrets of open data success? Good policy, political buy-in and support, investing in capacity and modern technology all help. [GCN]
  • The “alignment of transactions, performance, and quality of life” is “the ideal function of data science and dashboarding,” writes Abhi Nemani, in his deep dive on government dashboards. [Medium]
  • Jason Shueh reports on Accela building a tool that lets “sharing economy” companies connect user data with city permitting offices. [GovTech]


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