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Category Archives: E-Government

Politico – The Federal Courts Are Running An Online Scam

The website everyone uses to follow the Mueller probe is a hopeless, costly disaster. By Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. He also runs a company providing services on navigating the federal court records system.

“Every day, dozens of hungry reporters lurk inside something called PACER, the online records system for America’s federal courts. These days, they’re mostly looking for the latest scraps of intel on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian inference into the 2016 presidential election. And everyone, from lawyers to researchers to activists, uses the system to find similar criminal cases, track the latest arrests of terrorism suspects or argue for sentencing reform. But I’m here to tell you that PACER—Public Access to Court Electronic Records—is a judicially approved scam. The very name is misleading: Limiting the public’s access by charging hefty fees, it has been a scam since it was launched and, barring significant structural changes, will be a scam forever…”

Government Is Using Most Vulnerable People to Test Facial Recognition Software

Slate – Our research shows that any one of us might end up helping the facial recognition industry, perhaps during moments of extraordinary vulnerability. “If you thought IBM using “quietly scraped” Flickr images to train facial recognition systems was bad, it gets worse. Our research, which will be reviewed for publication this summer, indicates that… Continue Reading

A new way to track Web censorship under Trump: Gov404

Sunlight Foundation Web Integrity Project: “Today, WIP is launching Gov404: The Web Integrity Project’s Censorship Tracker, a new tool to track unjustified removals of online resources and reductions in access to content across the federal government. Why are we aggregating these unjustified removals? As the government itself states in its Office of Management and Budget’s… Continue Reading

How open is your government? Find out.

Muckrock: “Each state has its own laws about making documents, data and other records accessible to the public. There are also separate public records laws for the federal agencies, the District of Columbia, and territories such as Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. MuckRock tracks how states impose exemptions that allow them to withhold… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – US takes tentative steps toward opening up government data

Via LLRX – US takes tentative steps toward opening up government data – At the beginning of this year, President Trump signed into law the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act, requiring that nonsensitive government data be made available in machine-readable, open formats by default. As researchers who study data governance and cyber… Continue Reading

Better Reporting of Government-wide Data Would Increase Transparency and Facilitate Oversight

Fees, Fines, and Penalties: Better Reporting of Government-wide Data Would Increase Transparency and Facilitate Oversight GAO-19-221: Published: Mar 7, 2019. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 2019. “Federal agencies collect hundreds of billions of dollars annually in fees, fines, and penalties, such as national park entry fees and penalties for violations of federal telemarketing law. Government-wide data… Continue Reading

Copyright Office Adds 24 Million Images to Virtual Card Catalog Proof of Concept

“The Copyright Office updated the Virtual Card Catalog (VCC) proof of concept yesterday with more than 24 million card images from 1870 through 1954. These images contain Copyright Registrations, Assignments, Notices of Use, Commercial Prints and Labels, Title Indexes, and Pseudonym Files. The addition of these card images expands the range of card images from… Continue Reading

What’s the Weather Like on Mars? NASA has a site for that

Weather Report at Elysium Planitia – “This plot is being updated daily throughout the duration of the InSight mission. The plot shows the latest three sols (Martian days) of weather data at InSight’s landing site near the equator of Mars. Time runs along the bottom of the plot with the most recent data at the… Continue Reading

Weather Service prepares to launch prediction model many forecasters don’t trust

The Washington Post: “In a month, the National Weather Service plans to launch its “next generation” weather prediction model with the aim of “better, more timely forecasts.” But many meteorologists familiar with the model fear it is unreliable. The introduction of a model that forecasters lack confidence in matters, considering the enormous impact that weather… Continue Reading

Congress.gov New, Tip, and Top for February 2019

In Custodia Legis – “In January, Robert announced the first version of the new Committee Schedule that we have been working on.  It is a great way to see quickly which meetings and hearings the House and Senate committees have scheduled for the week…” Continue Reading

Should Libraries Be the Keepers of Their Cities’ Public Data?

CityLab – Public libraries are one of the most trusted institutions, and they want to make sure everyone has access to the information cities are collecting and sharing. “In recent years, dozens of U.S. cities have released pools of public data. It’s an effort to improve transparency and drive innovation, and done well, it can… Continue Reading

US Consumer Product Safety Commission Recall notices

CPSC newsroom [and why is this information so opaque to the public – it is critical to health and safety and yet basically hidden from easy access – thanks to Pete Weiss for these links] All Recalls RSS Recalls RSS Recalls for Children Continue Reading