Today in OpenGov: Transparency Camp heads to Phoenix, opening ICANN, and more

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In today's edition, we head to Arizona for the latest edition of Transparency Camp, support transparency at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ask when to share information around data breaches, and more…

States and cities


 
  • Join us at Transparency Camp on May 22 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Sunlight Foundation is teaming up with the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, Galvanize, and the Arizona Institute for Digital Progress for TCamp 2017! The event will bring "together the best and brightest from the government, developer and journalist communities to talk about and problem-solve issues relating to making government data open and accessible to the public. An un-conference format in which participants design the agenda, present their ideas and dive into the challenges and success stories they’ve seen firsthand during morning and afternoon breakout sessions." Learn more and get your tickets here.
  • Transparent accounting and financial information is a winning strategy for private and public sector organizations. "Many Fortune 500 companies have learned the importance of transparency in financial disclosures—some of them the hard way. But the recent string of municipal bankruptcies, including Detroit, suggest that plenty of governments are still not convinced." (Government Executive)
  • Fight over healthcare price transparency in Ohio struggles to attract coverage. "The Healthcare Price Transparency Law, written by Republican state Rep. Jim Butler and passed in 2015, would require the state’s hospitals, doctors and other healthcare providers to disclose their prices for non-emergency services…" An ongoing fight over its implementation has failed to attract much coverage from traditional media outlets in the state. (Columbia Journalism Review)
  • Alabama ethics panel exposes governor to prosecution. "Gov. Robert Bently of Alabama could face criminal prosection after a state ethics panel found probable cause that he broke ethics and campaign finance laws in a sex-tinged scandal that has engulfed him for over a year." (New York Times)

around the world


 
  • Sunlight joined more than 50 organizations urging transparency at ICANN. The letter, directed at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' leadership, called "ICANN’s accountability mechanisms…hollow [and] without robust policies for providing information about the context underlying critical Internet governance debates."  Read the letter and raise your voice
  • India is looking to change its Right to Information law for better and worse. "Proposed revisions to the 2012 rules governing India’s Right to Information Act are drawing criticisms mixed with some praise." (Freedominfo.org)
  • NGO funding is causing concern at the European Parliament. "On March 27, the Parliament’s budgetary control committee discussed a proposal put forward by German center-right MEP Markus Pieper calling for the EU to cut public funding for NGOs 'demonstrably disseminating untruths' or campaigning for 'objectives [that are] contrary to the fundamental values of the European Union.'" There appears to be broad support for more transparency, but it's worth noting that some of the most vocal criticisms have come from corporate lobbyists who are often at odds with public interest oriented NGOs. (POLITICO)
  • And now for something completely different: "What I learned from 20,000 dog poops." mySociety analyzed data from their FixMyStreet tool detailing reported incidences of "dog fouling" to help explain how when "working with data that you didn’t set out to gather you have to be careful to think about what the data actually means, rather than what it seems to be saying."

Washington Watch


 
  • Trump advisors must be subject to ethics laws to avoid conflicts. "With news earlier this week that the White House may name another advisor with vast business holdings that would pose conflicts of interest, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) sent a letter today to President Trump’s top attorney, Don McGahn II, urging the White House to subject this potential new advisor to government ethics laws if he is appointed." (Project on Government Oversight)
  • Twitter fights back over questionable request for user information. "The Trump administration is demanding Twitter expose the anonymous account holder behind the @ALT_uscis handle that has been critical of the US president's immigration policy." Twitter wasn't particularly impressed with the summons issued by Customs and Border Protection and is fighting back in court. (Ars Technica)
  • Nunes steps aside from Russia investigation in wake of Ethics Committee probe. "The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it is investigating whether Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) made unauthorized disclosures of classified information while overseeing his panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election." (The Hill)
  • When is the right time to notify the public of data breaches? "Competing interests exist between two of the predominant federal agencies tasked with stopping hackers from attacking the U.S., officials say, and that dynamic shapes how and when the government notifies Americans if they’ve been breached." (FedScoop)
  • Still tracking Trump's conflicts of interest. The Georgian Ambassador to the United States tweeted praise for President Trump's Washington, DC hotel, prompting Sunlight's Alex Howard to ask "If a conflict is tweeted on Penn Ave, can OfficeGovEthics hear it?" 

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