Making Government Operations More Open

Transparency Ombudsman

Have some official with top secret clearance or higher serve as an information ombudsman to both receive requests (C-SPAN style) from the public, and double-check documents where federal agencies claim confidentiality or classification (the onus being on them to opt-in). I'm imagining a low-level cabinet official (maybe the head of a national FOIA library?) who has no influence except the threat of declassification, ...more »

Submitted by Unsubscribed User

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4 votes
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Making Data More Accessible

Frequent FOIA on web site

This comment applies specifically to the State Department (but might apply elsewhere).

 

The FOIA requires government agencies to post on their web sites FOIA results that are likely to be asked again. The department of State has a very limited amount of material, which cannot represent everything likely to be asked again.

Submitted by (@kevin0)

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6 votes
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Making Government Operations More Open

Direct agencies to use online communications tools to help resolve disputes over FOIA requests.

Direct agencies to use online communications tools to help resolve disputes over FOIA requests, including internal agency appeals processes and through mediation provided by the new Office of Government Information Services (OGIS).

Submitted by (@sunshineingovernmentinitiative)

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13 votes
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Making Government Operations More Open

Revise OPM Report to Direct Changes in Personnel Policies for FOIA Professionals

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should reconsider and revise its December 2008 report issued pursuant to Section 11 of the OPEN Government Act of 2007, regarding improving personnel practices for employees who administer the FOIA in the federal government. The report fails to recommend any meaningful action by OPM, but rather suggests a continuation of the status quo, with individual agencies having responsibility ...more »

Submitted by (@nationalsecurityarchive)

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15 votes
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Making Data More Accessible

To Make FOIA Work, Costs of Non-Disclosure Must Be Greater than Benefits

Charge agencies daily substantial penalties for each day past statutory deadlines on FOIA request, this may be done by executive order, I believe. Charges should come from overall budget of agency, not FOIA department. Failure to answer FOIA requests by government officials should also be punished by individual reprimands and other administrative sanctions. These guidelines could be worked out by OPM across all agencies ...more »

Submitted by (@laurencejarvik)

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22 votes
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Making Data More Accessible

FOIA Tracking System

FOIA requests can take many months to process. It would be great if one could go to a web site and track where in the queue yours was, and maybe get an idea of when it would get worked on. When you phone a call center, they may tell you how many are in front of you, or what the average wait time. I don't know about all agencies, but on some you can't find anything about their processing times statistically, much less ...more »

Submitted by (@kevin0)

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27 votes
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Making Government Operations More Open

Identify Disclosure Priorities Using FOIA Trends

The Open Government Directive should establish a mechanism for setting information disclosure priorities. This process should be overseen by a responsible official within each agency, someone in a position to understand the broad scope of the agency’s information holdings. Several complementary approaches to identifying disclosure priorities make sense: • Agencies should first look at which records the public is already ...more »

Submitted by (@nationalsecurityarchive)

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31 votes
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Records Management

Automatic Saving and Storage of E-mails and other Electronic Records in their Original Format

The federal government can become more environmentally friendly and more efficient by taking the relatively undemanding step of creating a system which automatically saves, catalogues and organizes all electronically created records in electronic format.

Submitted by (@sunshineingovernmentinitiative)

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35 votes
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New Tools and Technologies

Centralized Digital System for FOIA Requests

The president should instruct the E-Government Administrator to implement a centralized digital system for Freedom of Information Act requests that interacts with each agency's FOIA office. Such a system could find and manage requests more efficiently and reduce the duplication of requests, since many requests, as well as any released documents, could be made publicly available through each agency’s online reading room. ...more »

Submitted by (@rstrother)

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37 votes
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Making Government Operations More Open

Government-wide Leadership, Implementation, and Enforcement on Transparency

For too long, access to information about government activities has risen and fallen with the whims of elected and appointed leaders. Agencies’ commitments to transparency vary widely. There is little sharing of best practices and virtually no Executive Branch oversight of the implementation of transparency policies. In order for the situation to improve, there must be one office designated to oversee these issues on ...more »

Submitted by (@nationalsecurityarchive)

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39 votes
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Making Data More Accessible

set a time limit for classification review on new classified records

Whenever a new classified record is created, the person classifying it should set a time limit for when the new record should have its classification level reviewed. There should be a reasonable coherent justification for keeping records classified for lengthy periods or indefinitely. There should also be a default time period for having classified records become automatically declassified. No records should be classified ...more »

Submitted by Unsubscribed User

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40 votes
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Making Government Operations More Open

Implement E-FOIA’s Public Index Requirement to Start Making Sense of the Government’s Information Holdings

Transparency has been hindered by the inability of agencies to explain to the public what type of records they hold, such as by providing an index and description of major information systems, which is required by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or through the Government Information Locator Systems (GILS) program. As a result, members of the public often do not know which agency has the information they need or ...more »

Submitted by (@nationalsecurityarchive)

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46 votes
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