Today in OpenGov: The state of “the swamp”, the 4th annual Global Open Data Index, and more…


In today's edition, the GAO looks at DATA Act data quality, transparency groups push for disclosure of White House staff salaries, the Open Knowledge Foundation invites you to explore the latest edition of the Global Open Data Index, and more…

washington watch

Image credit: BuzzFeed News

  • If an agency sends you thousands of completely blacked-out pages, did they really respond to your FOIA request? Reporter Peter Aldhous submitted a FOIA for documents about the USDA's removal of animal welfare data from the Internet this winter. In response, the USDA sent him 1,771 completely redacted pages. (BuzzFeed)
  • GAO calls on OMB to address data quality ahead of upcoming DATA Act deadline. "Challenges in accounting, financial management systems and information technology security pose risks to agencies’ compliance with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, the GAO said Friday." The GAO called on OMB to issue additional guidance to help agencies address potential quality issues. (Executive Government)
  • House Oversight moves whistleblower protection, IT modernization bills. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee had a busy week, approving a series of bipartisan bills to protect whistleblowers as well as an Information Technology modernization measure. Read more about the whistleblower protection measures on the Committee's website and catch up on the Modernizing Government Technology Act in Federal Computer Week.


Image credit:, click through for expanded image. 

  • Transparency groups call on Congress to review White House decision on staff salary disclosure. "In the latest clash over disclosure practices of the Trump administration, 10 ethics and transparency groups on Monday wrote congressional committee chairmen asking them to review what appears to be a White House decision to discontinue a mandatory personnel report on the salaries of White House staff." (Government Executive)
  • Shadowy groups support Trump with resources from "the swamp he "promised to drain". "As alliances continue to shift between factions, this tangled web of groups churning money from secret donors into the pockets of consultants doesn’t appear to be draining the swamp. Seems more like everyone’s dived in." (
  • Oil, coal, and gas interests investing heavily in Trump era influence. "Oil, gas and coal interests together poured millions of dollars into Trump’s inaugural fund and re-energized their federal government lobbying efforts during the year’s first three months, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal disclosures." (Center for Public Integrity)
  • The fight to defend federal data is a bipartisan effort. "IN THE 100 days since President Trump took office, concerned Americans have downloaded over 2 million government datasets. Their goal? To back up information they believe is in danger of going dark: climate science research, discriminatory housing reports, gun violence statistics. But public data preservation isn’t just a job for citizens working in university libraries and on digital archiving Githubs. Now, Washington is getting in on the action." Alex Howard weighed in, saying "Keeping public data accessible to the public isn’t a Republican or Democratic idea. It’s an American idea." (Wired)

around the world

The Global Open Data Index
  • The 4th edition of the Global Open Data Index is out now! The Index is "a global assessment of open government data publication. GODI compares national government in 94 places across the 15 key datasets that have been assessed by our community as the most useful for solving social challenges." Learn more and check out the index via Open Knowledge International.
  • Indian identification leaks pose privacy risk. "On May 1, the Centre for Internet and Society, a multi-disciplinary think tank in Bangalore, released a report indicating that faulty information security practices have exposed as many as 135 million ID numbers, leaked from four government databases." (Global Voices)

save the dates

  • #TCampAZ is coming up on May 22 in Phoenix. Learn more on Facebook and get your tickets hereThis one-day unconference will bring together the government representatives, developers and journalists to solve problems relating to civic data access. TCamp participants design the agenda, present their ideas and dive into the challenges, success stories and new possibilities during morning and afternoon breakout sessions. It is being hosted by the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting with key partners including Sunlight, Galvanize, and the Institute for Digital Progress.
  • May 6th: Sustainable Development Goals Data Archive-a-thon in Washington, DC. The SDG Data Archive-a-thon is an opportunity for programmers, archivists, scientists and volunteers of all kinds to help preserve publicly accessible federal data resources in the public interest. The goal of this event is to archive the datasets used to report on the SDG indicators and to ensure they remain accessible to the public online. This event is hosted by the Center for Open Data Enterprise. Learn more and register to participate here
  • May 17th and 18th: Reboot Congress 2017 and the Kemp Forum in Washington, DC. "Held in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, Reboot Congress 2017, is an invite-only conversation that will bring together a dynamic mix of problem solvers – civic tech innovators, engineers and designers, elected officials, senior staffers, policy experts, and other stakeholders working to modernize Congress." Learn more here.
  • May 17th: The 2017 Door Stop Awards in Washington, DC. "Lincoln Network and The OpenGov Foundation are joining forces to present the 2017 Door Stop Awards for Congressional Innovation and Transparency. Awards will be presented on May 17, 2017 in Washington, D.C. at an evening party as part of Reboot Congress." Learn more here.
  • May 19th and 20th: Global Legislative Openness Conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. "This 2-day event is hosted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, organized by the Legislative Openness Working Group of the Open Government Partnership and Open Parliament Initiative in Ukraine. The event will convene leading legislators, government officials, and civil society representatives to consider how legislative openness can strengthen public trust in representative institutions and build a responsive, 21st century legislature. In addition, the conference will explore how parliaments can best leverage the Open Government Partnership's new legislative engagement policy to develop and implement legislative openness plans and commitments." Learn more here. 
  • June 8th and 9th: Personal Democracy Forum 2017 in New York City. "The annual flagship conference brings together close to 1,000 top technologists, campaigners, hackers, opinion-makers, government officials, journalists, and academics for two days of game-changing talks, workshops, and networking opportunities to celebrate the power and potential of tech to make real change happen." Learn more about #PDF17 and get your tickets here.
  • June 27th: Legislative Data and Transparency Conference in Washington, DC. "The Legislative Data and Transparency Conference 2017 (#LDTC17), hosted by the Committee on House Administration, will take place on Tuesday, June 27, 2017in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium. The #LDTC17 brings individuals from Legislative Branch agencies together with data users and transparency advocates to foster a conversation about the use of legislative data – addressing how agencies use technology well and how they can use it better in the future." Learn more here
  • June 29th: DATA Act Summit 2017 in Washington, DC. "The fourth annual DATA Act Summit, hosted by the Data Coalition and Booz Allen Hamilton, will bring together supporters of the open data transformation from across government and the private sector." Learn more and get your tickets here
  • September 11th and 12th: TicTec@Taipei in Taipei. "TICTeC@Taipei is the first ever conference about the influence of civic tech to be held in Asia. We’ve invited members of academia, business, politics, NGOs, education to participate, and discuss their research. We hope through this event, we can build a global network of civic tech enthusiasts." The event is being held during #CivicTechFest 2017. Learn more, submit a session proposal, and register to attend here


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