Today in OpenGov: ICEd Out


In today's edition, a proposed merger might create a defense industry influence juggernaut, ICE's move to delete old speeches shines a light on lacking federal archiving practices, New Jersey shines a exposes its dark money, and more. 

washington watch

A proposed merger between defense giants Raytheon and United Technologies could have a big effect on influence at the Pentagon. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
  • The proposed merger of Raytheon and United Technologies will create a defense influence juggernaut. "The proposed merger between Raytheon and United Technologies could result in a defense manufacturing giant topped only by Boeing, but the combined lobbying and campaign finance operation of the potential $74 billion company could be a powerful force in Washington as well." (Open Secrets)
  • Removal of ICE speeches in waning days of Obama administration demonstrates weaknesses in federal agency archiving. "In the dying minutes of the Obama administration’s final term, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed from its website a collection of almost 200 speeches and testimonies delivered by agency leadership dating back to 2004. With a couple of clicks of a mouse, access to a federal government web resource containing 12 years of primary source materials on ICE’s history was lost. In our most recent report, the Web Integrity Project (WIP) documents the removal of this collection. As our report details, a collection of 190 transcripts of speeches and testimonies hosted on the ICE website’s “Speeches and Testimonies” page was removed between the early afternoon of January 18 and late evening on January 19, 2017." (Sunlight Foundation)
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn't see any problems with his wife's moves to ease lucrative federal grants towards his home state. "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed a question on Tuesday about whether he received preferential treatment by the Transportation Department, which is overseen by his wife Secretary Elaine Chao." (The Hill)
  • The National Archives is eyeing blockchain as a potential authentication solution for digital content. "The National Archives and Records Administration is looking at blockchain technology to change how it authenticates images and videos amid the rise of deepfake, Federal News Network reported Monday. The move follows the launch of machine learning algorithms designed to manipulate images and audio to make realistic videos of people talking about something or performing activities. Eric Douglas, a records management policy and program support specialist for NARA’s chief records officer, said integrating blockchain into the authentication process would help the agency and the public independently verify digital content." (Executive Gov)
  • The first House hearing on potential tech industry anti-trust issues focused on the health and freedom of the press. "A congressional panel conducting a broad antitrust investigation into the nation’s biggest technology companies is starting with scrutiny over how companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. have devastated the news industry. The first hearing Tuesday afternoon of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, led by Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, is set to explore the market power online platforms have over the news publishers, including their role in digital advertising, data collection and privacy." (Bloomberg)

states and cities

Image via Pixabay.
  • New Jersey will shine a light on political dark money in the state after Governor Phil Murphy backs down on earlier veto. "Big-spending “dark money” political groups in New Jersey will have to reveal who is funding them after all, lawmakers agreed Monday. Gov. Phil Murphy, despite vetoing the exact same legislation last month, has now committed to signing it, but his office did not say why. Murphy's reversal came after it appeared the Democratic-controlled Legislature had the votes to override his veto, which would have been the first override in more than 20 years." (
  • Rhode Island is looking at blockchain for records, registration, licensing, and much more. "Rhode Island has issued a new RFP aimed at exploring the viability of blockchain technology statewide…Rhode Island's blockchain RFP is far-reaching, looking to apply the emerging technology to registration and licensing, medical marijuana, records and more, according to the contract…Director of the Department of Business Regulation Liz Tanner said she believes blockchain technology represents the modernization of government and would poise Rhode Island as a leader in bureaucratic efficiency." (Government Technology)
  • Miami's Chief Innovation Officer is building trust and empathy through a feedback driven approach. "As Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Miami, Mike Sarasti spends a lot of time listening. Intent on disrupting outdated methods for government IT development, Sarasti has made it a priority to get out into community businesses, run workshops in neighborhood satellite offices, and even have his staff bring iPads around city hall to run impromptu user testing. Embedding feedback is a top priority, and this dedication to inclusion is evident in everything he does, from redesigning the Miami government website to educating his staff." (Data-Smart City Solutions)


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