Sunlight foundation has a great live feed and commentary (thanks to @Shoq for the link)

And a reminder from the White House on what this is all about

The Open Government Directive and the Progress Report to the American People lay out how the Obama Administration is breaking down long-standing barriers between the federal government and the people it serves. The Directive instructs agencies to take immediate, specific steps to open their doors and data to the American people.

Examples of things discussed so far include “what high value data sets would you like the government to release?” and “what are the implications of open government data on the Patriot Act?”

So what does this mean, really? The White House explains:

On his very first day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum to all federal agencies directing them to break down barriers to transparency, participation, and collaboration between the federal government and the people it is to serve.

As an example of the steps taken in response, the White House, for the first time ever, now publishes the names of everyone who visits.  We are also publishing online never-before-available data about federal spending and research.  At, for instance, what started as 47 data sets from a small group of federal agencies has grown into more than 118,000 today – with thousands more ready to be released starting this week.  And in March, the Attorney General published updated FOIA guidelines, establishing a presumption in favor of voluntary disclosure of government information – an important step toward enabling the American people to see how their government works for them.  There have been other advancements, from providing online access to White House staff financial reports and salaries, adopting a tough new state secrets policy, reversing an executive order that previously limited access to presidential records, and web-casting White House meetings and conferences.

Why is this subject important:

  • Our democracy depends on an informed public and an informed government. If we don’t have accurate information, effectively shared, we are shooting ourselves in the foot and possibly continuing ineffective policies or even damaging ones
  • The government is us and works for us, and we have a right to know what’s up. Nuf said
  • The new information-based world we’re emerging into depends heavily on systems interacting with one another, and that depends on a level of openness and sharing that governments are often far behind on
  • Specifically of interest to readers of this blog, knowledge of disparities in government services (stimulus dollars, investment, etc), health information and countless other data sets can help shine a light on possible discrimination so we can take corrective action.


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