Today in OpenGov: Very Dishonest

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Earlier this week, President Trump renewed his attacks on the media, calling journalists "dishonest" and "bad people" at a rally in Phoenix, AZ. Needless to say, we disagree with the President. Journalists are the immune system of democracy and all politicians should be prepared to speak up and defend the freedom of the press. 

In moments like these it's important for all Americans to follow and support individuals and organizations who work to protect and defend journalists in the United States and around the world. 

Washington watch


 
  • Secret Service will stop erasing White House visitor logs. "The Secret Service has agreed to stop erasing White House visitor log data while a lawsuit demanding public access to some of the information goes forward," according to this report by Josh Gerstein. The Secret Service will temporarily "suspend its practice of disposing of the information after it is transferred to a White House records repository," while the lawsuit, filed by Public Citizen, moves forward. (POLITICO)
  • Secrecy around Afghanistan troop numbers hinders public debate. John M. Donnelly writes in response to the President's speech earlier this week outlining his new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, "The practically hallucinogenic effect of the speech was of a president not wanting to talk about a central element of his case for war: how many people will fight it. If the lack of transparency becomes mirrored at lower levels, it would become a problem for the country’s ability to have an honest debate about the war." (Roll Call) We agree. This sort of secrecy hinders accountability and the public's ability to have an informed debate about wars. 
  • America holds a treasure trove of data on mosquitos, but it could be much more useful. "The problem, according to Micaela Elvira Martinez from Princeton University and Samuel Rund from the University of Notre Dame, is that this treasure trove of data isn’t all in the same place, and only a small fraction of it is public. The rest is inaccessible, hoarded by local mosquito-control agencies around the country." The two scientists are calling for a national, publicly accessible database of mosquito records. (The Atlantic)
  • GAO expresses concern over high CIO turnover. This week, the GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro expressed concern that the recent departure of a number of federal Chief Information Officers and other senior federal tech executives may hinder efforts to improve federal IT acquisition and remove the category from GAO's "High-Risk list" of programs at risk for waste, fraud, and abuse. (FedScoop)

states and cities

Image: Flickr user RantingFan
 
  • Federal Judge blocks Texas' voter ID laws over discrimination claims. "In an important win for opponents of voter ID laws, a federal judge in Texas permanently blocked the state from enforcing its laws addressing the topic — despite the Justice Department's decision to stop backing the challenge to the law earlier this year," writes Chris Gender. State officials have already indicated their intent to appeal the ruling. (BuzzFeed)
  • Colorado can continue momentum on transparency with an open data law. "Now that Senate Bill 17-040 is in effect, ensuring your right under the Colorado Open Records Act to obtain digital public records in useful file formats, the state senator who introduced the legislation is considering an open data bill as the next logical step." (Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition) We hope that Colorado takes this opportunity to show state level leadership on open data, building on the examples set by Washington, DC and New Jersey.

around the world


Mexican Officials share their thoughts on using data to combat corruption. Via Open Data Charter
 
  • Six lessons from the Mexican government on fighting corruption with data. Ania Calderon  interviewed officials across the Mexican government to understand how they produce and share data relevant to anti-corruption work. Find out what she learned at the Open Data Charter.
  • Canada releases Open Government Partnership self assessment. Earlier this week, we congratulated Canada for their Open Government Partnership self assessment while noting how quiet OGP appears to be in the United States.   
  • India's Supreme Court rules unanimously in favor of fundamental privacy right. "India’s top court has ruled citizens have a fundamental right to privacy, a potential setback to the government’s plan of using its vast biometricidentification program in everything from mobile connections to income-tax filings." (Bloomberg)
  • mySociety and Wikimedia UK team up to "Wikify Westminster". The two groups teamed up over the weekend on an event aimed at building out historical data on members of the British Parliament and other UK legislative bodies. (mySociety)

save the dates


 
  • September 11th and 12th: Civic Tech Fest and 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. The agenda is up now and you have until July 21st to sign up for early bird tickets!
  • 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.
  • September 26th: Data Transparency 2017, in Washington, DC. Hosted by the Data Foundation, "Data Transparency 2017 is Washington's largest open data event, bringing together government leaders, transparency advocates, and the technology industry to explore how technology can transform government, compliance, and the private sector." Learn more and get your tickets here.
  • September 28th: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information, Paris, France. "The 'IPDCtalks' will be held to highlight and elaborate on the importance of Access to Information for all sustainable development efforts around the world. It will consist of a series of attractive and dynamic talks from global public leaders, top journalists, young intellectuals and community leaders. While some of the speakers will elaborate on the key role of Access to Information for the achievement of a particular Sustainable Development Goal, others will reflect on the essential role of Access to Information for our society and future." You can learn more and request an invitation on the event website. If you're interested, but can't attend the event will be broadcast live on the web.
  • October 13th – 14th: 2017 FOI Summit, Nashville, Tennessee. "Music City USA becomes home for NFOIC, state FOI coalitions and open government advocates for the 2017 FOI Summit on Friday and Saturday, October 13-14, 2017.The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and our host, the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government will convene the annual summit at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University." You can learn more and register here

 

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