Today in OpenGov: Putting a Facebook on open data


Yesterday, the Committee on House Administration hosted its annual Legislative Data and Transparency Conference at the U.S. Capitol. Many Sunlighters were on hand to learn about progress and initiatives, including the Library of Congress' App Challenge, the U.S. Government Publishing Office's new website, and much more. Check out our Facebook page and the #ldtc17 hashtag on Twitter for more from the event, and our blog today.

Keep reading for more open government news from DC and around the United States!

states and cities

  • An open data-fueled chatbot is helping Kansas City, Missouri's residents on Facebook. "On June 19, Open Data Kansas City officially launched a new bot on Facebook  to try to make its open data portal more accessible to non-technical users. The chatbot converses with Facebook Messenger users to help them find the most useful data on what they care about in city government, they even recommend them to buy Facebook comments and likes so that their account grows more." (Sunlight Foundation)
  • Invest in the future of your community by adopting a tree in your neighborhood. "Launched this month, the D.C. Tree Watering Application has features to locate young trees that need a drink by entering an address. To track the trees, there’s also an option to take a photo and upload it to a story. If a tree needs a little special help, there’s a feature to report an issue to DDOT." ( DC)
  • Florida governor vetoes an attempt to hamstring state's technology agency. "In early 2017, Florida’s House Government Operations and Technology Appropriations subcommittee launched a legislative assault on the autonomy of the state’s centralized IT shop, the Agency for State Technology (AST). That affront, better known as House Bill 5301, did not survive Gov. Rick Scott’s veto June 23." (Government Technology)
  • Building a culture of data sharing in Los Angeles. "Since then, Los Angeles has delivered results on Garcetti’s smart city vision, including the creation of one of the most innovative government data portals and ever-increasing support for data-driven governance within city departments. Lilian Coral, who joined Garcetti’s team in 2015, first as Deputy Chief Data Officer until she was appointed Chief Data Officer last spring, has been integral to taking Los Angeles’ digital efforts to the next level." (Government Technology via NFOIC)

washington watch

  • U.S. Supreme Court will rule on whistleblower protections in Dodd-Frank this fall. "The Supreme Court announced Monday it will weigh whether corporate whistleblowers who don’t report wrongdoing to federal authorities are protected by anti-retaliation laws." (The Hill)
  • Sunlight joins coalition calling for Senate Armed Services Committee to hold public mark up. "In recent years, several of the subcommittee mark-ups have been opened up at their members’ request. Last year, three of the six subcommittees held their work in public view, with no reported complications or problems from senators. This year, the committee added a new panel — the subcommittee on cybersecurity — and closed all seven." (Military Times)
  • Does the information age mean the end of privacy? Julia Angwin doesn't think so. The ProPublica journalist took the stage at the Aspen Ideas Festival to "argues that those fighting to better protect privacy aren’t wasting their time, even as the Information Age accelerates." She urged her audience to consider and draw inspiration from reformers that successfully pushed back against the worst excesses of the industrial revolution. (The Atlantic)
  • Securing U.S. elections would be relatively cheap, but no one seems interested in footing the bill. "What would it cost to protect the nation's voting systems from attack? About $400 million would go a long way, say cybersecurity experts. It's not a lot of money when it comes to national defense — the Pentagon spent more than that last year on military bands alone — but getting funds for election systems is always a struggle." (NPR)


  • Contractors push back on OMB attempts to reduce certain reporting requirements. "A group representing 400 services and information technology contractors has asked the Office of Management and Budget to revamp several of the 59 changes announced on June 15 in its memo on easing the reporting burden on agencies." (Government Executive)
  • White House Office of American Innovation prioritizes government modernization. "On Tuesday, Matt Lira, special assistant to the president for innovation policy and initiatives, provided a blueprint of the Office of American Innovation’s efforts. First up: government modernization." (Nextgov)
  • Paul Manafort registers firm as foreign agent, reports $17 million in income from pro-Russian Ukrainian party. "The firm headed by Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, made more than $17 million working as a foreign agent of a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, according to newly filed disclosure reports." (POLITICO
  • Trump to host campaign fundraiser at Trump hotel blocks from White House. "President Trump, who is fond of dining at his Trump International Hotel near the White House, will have some company Wednesday — a roomful of people who paid as much as $35,000 or $100,000 each to be there." (NPR) It's unclear how much the Trump International Hotel will make for hosting the event. 

save the dates

  • 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.
  • July 5th, 10am EST: ICT-mediated Citizen Engagement: Voice or Chatter? Webinar. "In this webinar, IT for Change will present the results of eight empirical case studies of citizen engagement through ICTs they undertook. This research, funded by Making All Voices Count, explored in each case how new forms of participation were shaped by IT, how IT affected power relations between government and citizens, and how the interactions between different actors continuously shape governance. More information here:"
  • July 19th, 5:30 PM EST. Book Discussion: When Your Job Wants You To Lie in Washington, DC. "Join us for a discussion that will help us deal with the kinds of situations we all encounter. Presented by the American Society for Public Administration, National Capital Area Chapter (ASPA NCAC). Refreshments start 5:30, and the discussion starts 6:00. Space is limited, so you must RSVP in advance." Learn more and RSVP here
  • July 27th, 10 am: Chief FOIA Officers Council Meeting in Washington, DC. "OGIS and the Department of Information Policy (OIP) at the Department of Justice are happy to announce that the next meeting of the Chief FOIA Officers Council will be held on Thursday, July 27th from 10 am to noon. You can register to join the audience in the William G. McGowan Theater beginning on July 26. You can also plan on watching the livestream via the National Archives’ YouTube Channel."
  • 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.
  • September 13th: Civic and Gov Tech Showcase in San Jose, California. "Innovate Your State, in partnership with Microsoft and the City of San Jose, is bringing the 3nd Annual Civic & Gov Tech Showcase to the Capitol of Silicon Valley. The Civic & Gov Tech Showcase is an opportunity to connect with civic minded entrepreneurs, potential investors, and government leaders to showcase the great work that is being done to improve government and governance. The goal of the event is to encourage collaboration and the support of new technologies to improve government and public participation." Learn more and get your tickets here.
  • September 14th – 16th: Digital Humanities and Data Journalism Symposium, in Miami, Florida. "Digital humanists and data journalists face common challenges, opportunities, and goals, such as how to communicate effectively with the public. They use similar software tools, programming languages, and techniques, and they can learn from each other. Join us for lectures and tutorials about shared data types, visualization methods, and data communication — including text visualization, network diagrams, maps, databases and data wrangling. In addition to the scheduled content, there will be opportunities for casual conversation and networking." Learn more and register here.


Tired of your boss/friend/intern/uncle forwarding you this email every morning? You can sign up here and have it delivered direct to your inbox! Please send questions, comments, tips, and concerns to We would love your feedback!