Today in OpenGov: San Diego speeds up its data portal, whistleblower protection is a bipartisan issue, and more…


In today's edition, San Diego speeds up its open data portal, whistleblower protection remains a bipartisan issue, the EPA is getting less transparent, Buenos Aires shares some #OpenGov innovations, and more…

states and cities

Image credit: Beryl Lipton
  • San Diego speeds up its open data portal. After running analytics and realizing that slow speeds on their open data portal were turning potential users off, San Diego, California made an effort to speed things up. (San Diego)
  • Boston hiring new Chief Digital Officer with an eye towards boosting service delivery and quality of life. "I think first and foremost, we’re looking for someone who is passionate about making government services work great for constituents. It’s a job focused on how to make life better for the people who live and work in Boston,” said city CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge. (Government Technology)
  • MuckRock takes a trip to the prison town of Florence, AZ. "Two weeks ago, ahead of planned trip to the Arizona seat, I gave a call to the Pinal County Courthouse to ensure that their in-house records terminal would be available and browsable along particular parameters. Assured that my needs would be met by a real life trip to the courthouse computer terminals, I planned to spend a couple of days in the primo example of a prison town, and get a fresh sense for the circumstances and suspicion that come along with that distinction." Unsurprisingly, things didn't go quite as planned. (MuckRock

washington watch

Image Credit: National Park Service
  • An inside look at the Department of Justice's ethical deliberations. "Newly released Justice Department emails shed light on how the Department of Justice responds to ethical dilemmas — and who makes the final call about whether to grant ethics waivers for senior officials." (BuzzFeed)
  • Efforts to bring interoperability to military health records could set global standard. "Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, believes that if the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs can reach meaningful interoperability between their electronic health records, it could set a new standard for the rest of the world." (FedScoop
  • Congress shows bipartisan commitment to whistleblower protection with Follow the Rules Act. "Last week, Congress sent the Follow the Rules Act to the President’s desk for signature. The legislation closes a loophole in the Whistleblower Protection Act that was highlighted by a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ruling in Rainey v. State." (Project on Government Oversight)
  • OSHA should publish open data on workplace injury rates, as well as help regarding any Personal Injury Lawyer, which people ask for all the time. "Wouldn’t it make sense to be able to find out before applying for a job in a dangerous industry, which firms have a safe record, and which do not? The Obama administration thought the answer was “yes” and proposed a system to provide easy accessibility to workplace safety information via the web." The Trump administration recently announced an indefinite delay in efforts to make it happen. (The Hill)


Image of Scott Pruitt by Gage Skidmore
  • EPA becoming more opaque to journalists and public under Scott Pruitt. "The EPA administrator's media aversion, unavailable public schedule, and a history of industry favors are raising red flags." (New Republic)
  • Walter M. Shaub, Office of Government Ethics take on new prominence in Trump era. "Mr. Shaub, 46, has emerged as one of the few voices from within the government willing to second-guess the president and his advisers. At first quietly and then in a rare public speech here in January, Mr. Shaub tried to nudge Mr. Trump toward the only financial arrangement he felt was truly ethical — the total liquidation of his vast business and personal holdings." (New York Times)
  • Michael D. Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, won't comply with House and Senate Intelligence Committee requests. "Mr. Cohen, a confidant of Mr. Trump who was also a spokesman during the campaign, called the requests 'poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered,'" but said he would comply with subpoenas if the committee's choose to issue them. (New York Times)
  • Flynn to provide documents to Senate Intelligence Committee. "Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will provide documents to the Senate intelligence committee as part of its probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, The Associated Press has learned." (AP via Bloomberg)
  • White House immigrant crime list poses serious privacy threat. The White House's effort to highlight immigrant crimes has led to DHS publishing personal information of domestic abuse survivors. (Mother Jones) In March, looking at this plan, we warned that weaponized disclosure must not erode public trust in government. 

around the world

+simple an app for seniors in Buenos Aires who are new to the Internet
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina has some open government innovations to share. "The city’s broad jurisdiction and responsibility, coupled with the Mayor’s devotion to transparent performance management, has created an opportunity for large-scale open government innovation that could be replicated in other cities." Head over to GovEx for details on three of these replicable programs. 
  • A case study on Tunisia's embrace of open government since 2011. "In 2016, Tunisia adopted one of the world’s strongest laws regarding access to information. Although members of the public did not put all of the resources to use immediately, the country moved much closer to having the data needed to improve access to services, enhance government performance, and support the evidence-based deliberation on which a healthy democracy depended." (Princeton)
  • A first look at Open Data Serbia. "There is an insufficient understanding of the open data concept and its transformative potential among public institutions and the community of users also lack the skills for its effective use, leading to poor use of open data and very little real impact made. That’s the reason why we have launched Open Data Serbia, an organisation fully dedicated to the advocacy of open data principles and fostering the use of open data in Serbia." (Open Knowledge)

save the dates

  • 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." Check out the panels and Learn more about #PDF17 and get your tickets here.
  • June 12th through 14th: Canadian Open Data Summit in Edmonton, Canada. "The Canadian Open Data Summit (CODS) is an annual event where the most pressing challenges facing the open data and open government communities are addressed on a national scale." Learn more here.
  • June 12th through 14th: Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC. "We are bringing government, education, and nonprofit technology leaders from around the world to Washington, D.C this June 12-14, 2017 for the eighth annual AWS Public Sector Summit. Spend three, action-packed days with the innovators who are changing the world with cloud computing. You’ll go home with new strategies and techniques to accomplish new projects, maximize budgets, and achieve your mission that you didn’t think possible." Learn more and register here.
  • June 14th, 11am EST: Using EITI to Disclose Social and Environmental Information Related to Extractive Activities, Webinar. The OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group is hosting this webinar aimed "at stakeholders, including representatives from government, civil society, and the private sector, who work on, or are interested in, transparency around socio-environmental information related to the oil, gas and mining sector. It will include a discussion on current trends, opportunities, and challenges regarding socio-environmental transparency and whether/how EITI can be a tool to disclose such information." RSVP 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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