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Tag Archive: Center for Democracy and Technology

Hidden in Plain Sight

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Last week, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and OMB Watch, both Sunlight Foundation grantees, released a report highlighting how many federal agencies' databases and websites contain flaws making them hard to search with commonly used search engines. The report, "Hiding in Plain Sight: Why Important Government Information Cannot Be Found through Commercial Search Engines," shows how vital government information appears "invisible" to ordinary Americans using the Internet. Congress passed the E-Government Act of 2002 to promote the public's access to government information and services. Based on this report, there a whole lot of work that still needs to be done.

The report not only points out the flaws in current government databases that make it hard, if not impossible, for ordinary citizens to find the data they are looking for, but it also provides fixes that would encourage greater accessibility of information by making it more searchable.

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Three New Grants

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Just before I left town for a two-week break, Sunlight announced its first round of grants for 2007, totaling just over $200,000. On my return, I realized that we hadn't posted anything about them -- other than a press release -- and so our readers might have missed the news. We are staying the course in terms of the kind of investments were are making with the money going to organizations that are using new "Web 2.0" technology to further the organization's mission of putting information into citizens' hands to increase transparency in Congress. We believe that our grantees are on the cutting edge of work that will open up our legislative branch.

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