Web Integrity Project Blog Posts

WIP findings regarding Web censorship highlighted during FOIA hearing (3/14/2019)- Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a newly elected Massachusetts Democrat, cited website removals documented by the Web Integrity Project (WIP) at a hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform examining the state of the Freedom of Information Act under the Trump administration. Pressley focused her questioning on Melania Ann Pustay, Director of the Office… Read More
A new way to track Web censorship under Trump: Gov404 (3/12/2019)- The Web Integrity Project is launching Gov404, a tracker that aggregates and verifies the most significant cases of information removals from federal websites. Read More
Three attacks on public information highlighted in Gov404, our new Web censorship tracker (3/12/2019)- A snapshot of the removed "Navy Statistics" page showing the "Page Not Found" notice its URL returned on February 25, 2019. Snapshot captured by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Today the Web Integrity Project (WIP) released Gov404: The Web Integrity Project's Censorship Tracker. Gov404 is a new tool tracking removals of online resources and reductions in… Read More
Office of Minority Health removes access to webpages about the Affordable Care Act (2/28/2019)- In the last two years, between January 2017 and January 2019, the Office of Minority Health (OMH), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), removed several ACA-related webpages, links, and references from the minorityhealth.hhs.gov subdomain. The removals, which began just days into the Trump administration, are documented in the Web Integrity… Read More
Explained: The federal government’s responsibilities to provide online content in non-English languages (2/14/2019)- A portion of the "Multilingual Resources Page" on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website as of February 14, 2019 (see snapshot from that date captured by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine). This is an example of a "key resources page," one of the approaches WIP has seen federal agencies take in providing access… Read More
HHS Office of Population Affairs removed Affordable Care Act content from Title X website (2/7/2019)- Without notice to the public, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Population Affairs (OPA) removed a collection of ten pages related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from its “Title X Family Planning” website. These changes, which occurred between April and May of 2017, are documented in the Web Integrity Project’s… Read More
CMS de-emphasizes HealthCare.gov and steers consumers towards brokers and agents for help finding insurance plans (12/20/2018)- Consumer experience highlights potential risks of relying on agents and brokers, as the Trump administration loosens rules on health plans that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act Read More
Researchers try to cope without HHS public medical guideline database five months after its takedown (12/18/2018)- A nonprofit has launched a hopeful replacement as HHS agency pays for a study on how to disseminate guidelines in the future Read More
In overhaul of HealthCare.gov webpage, information about ways to apply is gone (12/11/2018)- Links on the ACA enrollment page now direct to third-party sites, including a for-profit assistance system Read More
CMS removes PDF used to train assisters in providing healthcare outreach to Latino communities (12/6/2018)- The training resource, which had still-accurate information, was taken down from the CMS.gov Health Insurance Marketplace website without notice Read More
The Web Integrity Project welcomes Sarah John as its Director of Research (11/14/2018)- We’re thrilled to announce that Sarah John is joining the Web Integrity Project as its new Director of Research! Sarah brings to WIP several years of research management experience at non-profits, including Legal Services Corporation and FairVote. Read More
Explained: Scheduled downtime of Healthcare.gov during open enrollment (10/31/2018)- Maintenance downtimes warrant scrutiny, but experts say they’re probably reasonable and necessary. Read More
HHS dropped “gender” from civil rights webpages in early 2018 (10/23/2018)- Recent reporting that HHS memo is seeking to legally redefine gender provides insight into the shift in terminology. Read More
The Web Integrity Project receives a generous boost in funding (10/10/2018)- A contribution from Mike Klein, Sunlight Foundation’s Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, enables the expansion of WIP’s work monitoring and reporting on federal website changes. Read More
Takedown of DOJ juvenile justice office webpages about still-active initiatives highlights its shift towards a more punitive approach (10/4/2018)- Current policy guidance on girls in the justice system and info about commitment to stop youth solitary confinement were removed Read More
White House takes down archive of daily newsletter from website without notice (9/13/2018)- Amidst website redesign, White House removes archive of its widely read newsletter,"1600 Daily," effectively eliminating a significant record of its past communications. Read More
Office of Refugee Resettlement quietly removes entire staff directory webpage (8/14/2018)- A page listing email addresses and phone numbers for 22 members of ORR's leadership was taken down without notice Read More
HHS in-house think tank sidelines ACA publications (7/28/2018)- Healthcare research from the Obama administration has been buried by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, or ASPE. Read More
Explained: The shutdown of the National Guideline Clearinghouse and the independent efforts to launch a replacement (7/20/2018)- New context from a Harvard Law copyright expert, the non-profit that will be launching new efforts to compile medical guidelines, and a Stanford health economist. Read More
HHS removes sex discrimination prohibition language from civil rights office website (7/19/2018)- Foreshadowing a possible shift in anti-discrimination policy, still-accurate content about sex discrimination was removed by the Office for Civil Rights. Read More
HHS to shut down public medical guideline database, go-to for physicians (7/12/2018)- The key website for curating medical guidelines, widely used by medical professionals, was scheduled to go offline on July 16. HHS cites budget cuts as the reason. Read More
14-Page Affordable Care Act website removed from Medicaid.gov (7/12/2018)- For the nearly 73.8 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and others newly eligible for these services, it has recently become much more difficult to learn about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Medicaid.gov. Early last month, a 14-page website dedicated to the ACA was removed from Medicaid.gov, the… Read More
USCIS takes down 26 PDFs for training asylum officers from its website (5/31/2018)- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) removed a cache of materials on its asylum process shortly after President Donald Trump took office, a reduction in access detailed in our latest Web Integrity Project report. The 26 removed documents, which collectively run to several hundred pages, constitute training materials for USCIS asylum officers, offering detailed… Read More
Affordable Care Act page quietly removed from Medicare website (5/17/2018)- Internet Archive's Wayback Machine snapshot of the removed “The Affordable Care Act & Medicare” page from December 18, 2017. If you’re one of the over 55 million people who is covered by Medicare, you might want to know a bit about if and how your coverage is affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What preventive… Read More
Aaron Lemelin joins the Web Integrity Project as a Website Monitoring Analyst (5/10/2018)- We’re excited to welcome the Web Integrity Project’s newest member, Aaron Lemelin! Aaron will be helping the team by monitoring and documenting changes to federal websites, across health and health care, immigration, and other domains. Aaron is bringing website monitoring experience from his past contracting work with WIP and from volunteering with the Environmental Data… Read More
National Archives publishes online dashboard of its investigations into lost, altered or destroyed public records (4/24/2018)- In spring 2018, for the first time the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) has begun using the Internet to inform the American public about its ongoing investigations of unauthorized dispositions in an online dashboard. In a year that continues to be marked by regression on open government, this is a welcome development that shines… Read More
Following scrutiny of website removal, HHS women’s health office adds breast cancer page (4/6/2018)- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women’s Health has added a single webpage about breast cancer to its WomensHealth.gov, after removing more than half a dozen pages about the topic without public notice. Read More
Unexplained censorship of women’s health website renews questions about Trump administration commitment to public health (4/2/2018)- An archived snapshot of the removed Office on Women's Health Breast Cancer website main page from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine on June 27, 2017. Today, the Web Integrity Project released our third report about Web censorship at the Office on Women’s Health (OWH). As we have released these reports, journalists and members of the… Read More
Federal women’s health office obscures lesbian and bisexual fact sheet online (3/21/2018)- The "Lesbian and bisexual health" page is no longer linked from anywhere on the Office of Women's Health website and the previous URL leads to a removed page. Lesbian and bisexual women will no longer be able to navigate to a page related to their specific health needs on the Office of Women’s Health website. The… Read More
Jon Campbell joins the Web Integrity Project as senior investigator (3/6/2018)- We’re proud to announce that @j0ncampbell has joined the @sunfoundation, working with @tolyrinberg @andmbergman @rachelkbergman & @digiphile on our @SunWebIntegrity project! https://t.co/v9A0vVSaBB (We all discovered today that wind is not the best disinfectant.) pic.twitter.com/XVN32mgdug — Sunlight Foundation (@SunFoundation) March 2, 2018 The Web Integrity Project is excited to welcome Jon Campbell as its new senior investigator.… Read More
In website reshuffle, federal committee makes reports on collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data inaccessible (3/2/2018)- Links from the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology website that previously directed to SOGI statistical methods reports now direct to "under construction" pages If you visit the website for the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology (FCSM), you’ll find that many of the links for reports lead to dead pages or PDFs that say, “this page… Read More
Why we’re launching the Web Integrity Project (2/2/2018)- The mission of the Web Integrity Project (WIP) is to monitor changes to government websites, holding our government accountable by revealing shifts in public information and access to Web resources, as well as changes in stated policies and priorities. Read More
In its first year, the Trump administration has reduced public information online (1/4/2018)- Almost a year into the Trump presidency, we have seen are substantial public information removals and overhauls of federal webpages, documents, and entire websites, as well as significant shifts in language and messaging across the federal Web domain. Read More
How federal agencies are quietly removing government Web resources, and why it matters (11/15/2017)- Under the Trump administration, federal agencies have been removing important Web resources without proactive notice or justification. We should hold our government accountable to clearly explain its actions and not remove Web content when there’s no good reason for doing so. Read More
Classifying changes to public access to information on US government websites (10/4/2017)- Changes to Web content can be especially confusing and opaque to the public when agencies don’t proactively document and explain how and why they change their websites. By clearly laying out how agencies are managing Web resources and changing websites using this classification system, our goal is to inform the public and lawmakers, gain insight… Read More
Changes to USGS website highlight the importance of search for public access (9/22/2017)- If the public cannot find a resource in a search result list anymore, can that public information still be said to be accessible? Yes, and no. Read More
What we’ve learned about the Trump administration’s changes to government websites won’t shock you (8/8/2017)- In 2017, there have been major reductions to public access to public information about the environment, energy, and climate change on federal websites, including EPA, DOE, DOT, Interior, State, USDA and the White House. Read More
Why we’re joining Sunlight to report on public access to public information (8/8/2017)- We're monitoring changes public access to public information on federal government websites under the Trump administration. Read More