Monitoring Federal Websites

The Web Integrity Project monitors and documents changes to federal websites, and disseminates findings to journalists to inform the public about significant reductions in access to information. Through this work, we both hold our government accountable for how it manages and controls information online and develop frameworks for better information governance. Check out our:


 

Website Monitoring Reports

Our reports detail and classify​ changes in ​Web content or​ ​access​ ​to​ ​Web​ ​resources. Are you a journalist interested in receiving our embargoed reports? Send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

NoteReports labelled “MR#” are “mini-reports,” condensed versions our website monitoring reports.

#Report TitleDateDescriptionCoverage
18Removal of Pages, References, and Links Pertaining to the Affordable Care Act from HHS’s Office of Minority Health Website
02/26/19Department of Health and Human Services | Over the course of 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), altered its website to remove webpages, references, and links pertaining to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
WIP blog post, Politico Pulse, MedPage Today, Government Executive
17Removal of a Collection of Webpages Related to the Affordable Care Act from HHS’s Office of Population Affairs Website
02/07/19Department of Health and Human Services | The Office of Population Affairs, under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), removed a collection of ten webpages related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from its “Title X Family Planning” website. The removed pages included a main ACA page, titled “Affordable Care Act,” which linked to three pages titled “Initiatives,” “Resources,” and “Contraceptive Coverage.” WIP blog post, Politico Pulse, Government Executive
MR3Link for HealthCare.gov removed from CMS.gov header
12/14/18Department of Health and Human Services | In mid-October 2018, a few weeks before the beginning of the Open Enrollment period to sign up for ACA coverage, the text “Learn about your health care options,” which included a link to the HealthCare.gov homepage, was removed from its prominent position in the the header of the CMS.gov domain. HealthCare.gov, which is managed and paid for by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is the primary federal health insurance exchange established under provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
16Overhaul of HealthCare.gov’s “Apply for Health Insurance” Webpage
12/10/18Department of Health and Human Services | Midway through the open enrollment period, between November 14 and November 21, 2018, HealthCare.gov’s “Apply for Health Insurance” page was overhauled by changing the page’s format and altering a list of ways to apply for health insurance. Previously, the page contained a table that listed five ways to apply, now it contains four ways. The overhaul included removals and additions of links listed within each way to apply.WIP blog post, Axios, NJTV News, Modern Healthcare
15Removal of the “Marketplace Outreach: Best Practices for Outreach to Latino Communities” PDF from CMS’s Health Insurance Marketplace Website
12/3/18Department of Health and Human Services | In September 2018, a PDF titled “Marketplace Outreach: Best Practices for Outreach to Latino Communities” was removed from the Health Insurance Marketplace website, a subdomain of CMS.gov. Links and text corresponding to the PDF were also removed from the website’s “Training for navigators, agents, brokers, and other assisters” and “Special populations” webpages. WIP blog post, Washington Post Health 202, Rewire, Politico Pulse, GovExec
MR2Removal of Mentions of the Term "Gender" from HHS's Office for Civil Rights "Discrimination on the Basis of Sex" Webpage (Mini-report)10/22/18Department of Health and Human Services | In the beginning of 2018, HHS’s Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) “Discrimination on the Basis of Sex” page (Webpage 1) was altered to remove 10 mentions of the term “gender.” These changes preceded reporting by The New York Times from October 21, revealing that HHS has internally circulated a memo that aims to legally redefine sex as an immutable trait determined by one’s genitalia at birth, which would impact how OCR oversees Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination in educational programs receiving federal financial assistance.
WIP blog post, ThinkProgress
MR1Removal of EPA's "CASAC Particulate Matter Review Panel (2015-2018)" Webpage (Mini-report)
10/12/18Environmental Protection Agency | On October 11, the publication date of a New York Times piece linking the EPA’s “CASAC Particulate Matter Review Panel (2015-2018)” page (Webpage 1), that page was removed. The CASAC “Committees and Membership” page (Webpage 2), which had previously linked that page, was also altered that day to remove that link and an additional link.
14Language Shifts on the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s “Vision and Mission” and “About” Webpages
10/4/18Department of Justice | The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) altered language on its “Vision and Mission” and “About” webpages. Shifts in language include removing text stating that OJJDP supports the development and implementation of "coordinated prevention and intervention programs" and provides "treatment and rehabilitative services" from the mission statement on the “Vision and Mission” page, and replacing the term “justice-involved youth” with “offenders."WIP blog post, NBC News, The Guardian, HuffPost
13Reduction in Access to Pages about Programs and Policy Guidance on the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Website10/4/18Department of Justice | The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has reduced access to webpages about programs and policy guidance. Several links corresponding to webpages about OJJDP programs and policy guidance have been removed from or added to the “OJJDP In Focus” and “Programs and Initiatives” pages. Many of the pages that correspond to removed links have been completely removed, including a page with a policy guidance titled “Girls and the Juvenile Justice System.” Co-released with Report #14
12Removal of WhiteHouse.gov’s “1600 Daily” Archive9/13/18White House | The White House removed the “1600 Daily” newsletter archive from its website and is no longer storing past posts on WhiteHouse.gov. The removal coincided with an overhaul of the style and organization of the White House’s website, which occurred in mid-December 2017. Previous “1600 Daily” post URLs from before the overhaul lead to a notice stating “That page cannot be found.”WIP blog post, Quartz
11Removal of HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement Staff Directory Webpage8/14/18Department of Health and Human Services | In late 2017, HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement removed its staff directory webpage, which listed contact information for 22 staff across internal divisions of ORR. The contact information is no longer available anywhere on the ORR website, and only a centralized email and phone number for media inquiries remain, with no name for an individual staff contact attached to them. WIP blog post, Newsweek, Politico Morning Shift, La Opinión, ThinkProgress, Axios
10Changes in Language and Removals of Descriptive Text on ASPE’s Website, Reducing Emphasis on the Affordable Care Act7/28/18Department of Health and Human Services | In 2017, the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) altered and added webpages on its website about research related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), demonstrating a shift in language, which deemphasized the stated positive impacts of the health care law. The title of its “Affordable Care Act Research” webpage was changed to “Historical Research.”WIP blog post co-released with Politico
9Language Removals Pertaining to Sex Discrimination from HHS’s Office for Civil Rights Webpages about Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act7/19/18Department of Health and Human Services | Between March and August 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) removed language relating to sex discrimination and prohibitions on sex discrimination on several webpages about Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Mentions of “sex stereotyping” and information about sex discrimination on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy were removed. WIP blog post, Washington Post Health 202, Pacific Standard, Politico Pulse
8Notice of Removal on HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Clearinghouse Websites7/12/18Department of Health and Human Services | Between April and May 2018, HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) added a notice of removal on its National Guideline Clearinghouse and National Quality Measures Clearinghouse websites, stating that the websites “will not be available after July 16, 2018.”WIP investigation in The Daily Beast, sourced: Vox, Washington Post Health 202
7Removal of the Affordable Care Act Website from within Medicaid.gov7/12/18Department of Health and Human Services | In June 2018, the “Affordable Care Act” website, which contained fourteen webpages, was removed from within Medicaid.gov. The main page of the website, which was itself titled “Affordable Care Act,” had links to thirteen pages with topics related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that have also been removed. Medicaid.gov’s top menu previously listed a prominent link with the text “Affordable Care Act,” which served as a dropdown menu with links to the removed pages.WIP blog post, CNN, Washington Post Health 202, Politico Pulse, Pacific Standard, Government Executive
6Removal of 26 Documents for Asylum Officer Training from the USCIS Website5/31/18Department of Homeland Security | Between March and April 2017, a series of 26 documents pertaining to training asylum officers were removed from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. The materials were prepared for personnel charged with reviewing and vetting asylum claims under certain international agreements and provisions of U.S. law.WIP blog post, La Opinión, Splinter, Newsweek, Government Executive
5Removal of the “Affordable Care Act & Medicare” Webpage and Corresponding Links from the Medicare Website5/17/18Department of Health and Human Services | In December 2017, a page titled “The Affordable Care Act & Medicare” was removed from the Medicare website. The page previously linked to healthcare.gov, which is the federal health insurance marketplace, and to another webpage on the Medicare domain called “Medicare & the Marketplace,” which is no longer linked from the “About Us” portion of the Medicare websiteWIP blog post, Pacific Standard, The Outline, Government Executive, The Hill
4Removal of Breast Cancer Website and Related Webpages from within HHS's Office on Women's Health Website4/2/18Department of Health and Human Services | The “Breast Cancer” website and related pages were removed from within the HHS's Office on Women’s Health (OWH) website. While content about mammogram breast cancer screening remains, informational pages and factsheets about the disease, including symptoms, treatment, risk factors, and public no- or low-cost cancer screening programs, have been entirely removed and are no longer found elsewhere on the OWH site.WIP blog post, ThinkProgress, The Hill, Politico Pulse, Newsweek, Bustle, Medpage Today, Fortune
3Removal of Webpage and Corresponding Links Pertaining to Lesbian and Bisexual Health from HHS’s Office of Women’s Health Website3/21/18Department of Health and Human Services | The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) removed a webpage with extensive information about lesbian and bisexual health, and links that correspond to that webpage, from its website. A PDF containing very similar content to the removed page is live but is not linked from elsewhere in the OWH website, rendering it inaccessible by navigating through the website. WIP blog post, Politico, NBC News, The Hill, Vice News, The Daily Dot, Jezebel
2Overview of HHS’s Office of Women’s Health Website Overhaul: Removal of Resources and Corresponding Link Alterations on the A-Z Health Topics Page3/21/18Department of Health and Human Services | The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) removed portions of its website, including text, links, and entire pages and documents. Pages and links to pages related to lesbian and bisexual health, breast cancer, men’s health, interpersonal and domestic violence, and health topics relevant to the elderly have been removed.Co-released with Report #3
1Removal of the FedStats Website and Reduction in Access to Statistical Methods Reports on the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology Website3/2/18Office of Management and Budget | Statistical resources that were previously accessible from the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology's (FCSM) website and the removed FedStats websites are now inaccessible from the relaunched FCSM website. Among the inaccessible resources are reports about sexual orientation and gender identity data collection methods.WIP blog post, Politico Pulse


Current Monitoring Efforts:

 

Health and healthcare

  • Focus areas: Maternal and child health, reproductive health, LGBTQ health, mental health, and the Affordable Care Act
  • Department(s): Department of Health and Human Services
  • Agencies/Offices: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, and others
  • Monitored webpages: ~20,000

Immigration

  • Focus areas: Refugee and asylum, refugee resettlement, immigration statistics, immigration and customs enforcement
  • Department(s): Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Agencies/Offices: Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Office of Refugee Resettlement, and others
  • Monitored webpages: ~10,000

 

Our website monitoring methodology is based on the work that our co-founders help lead at the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative’s Website Monitoring Team, which is keeping close track of federal climate, environment, and energy websites. We also make use of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to view and compare archived snapshots of pages.

If you’re interested in getting involved with WIP or have tips about topics or websites we should look into, contact Rachel Bergman at webintegrity@sunlightfoundation.com.