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Category Archives: E-Government

FOIA Campaign – Don’t Hold Our History Hostage

Records Not Revenue [‘Records, Not Revenue’ is a non-partisan project coordinated by an ad hoc group of genealogists, historians, and records access advocates] – Speak Out Now to Preserve Public Access to Genealogy Records! – On 14 November 2019, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed a sudden and unprecedented 492% increase in fees required to access historical records held by the USCIS Genealogy Program. Many of these records should already be publicly accessible under the law. USCIS is essentially holding them hostage, demanding individuals pay exorbitant and unjustifiable fees to access documents of our immigrant ancestors. All researchers should care about the issues involved, even if your research does not include these historical records. What can be done to one type of record can be done to others!..Don’t delay, submit your comments about the proposed fee hike today! The deadline is December 16, 2019!..”

50 countries ranked by how they’re collecting biometric data and what they’re doing with it

comparitech: “From passport photos to accessing bank accounts with fingerprints, the use of biometrics is growing at an exponential rate. And while using your fingerprint may be easier than typing in a password, just how far is too far when it comes to biometric use, and what’s happening to your biometric data once it’s collected,… Continue Reading

It’s Way Too Easy to Get a .gov Domain Name

Krebs on Security – “Many readers probably believe they can trust links and emails coming from U.S. federal government domain names, or else assume there are at least more stringent verification requirements involved in obtaining a .gov domain versus a commercial one ending in .com or .org. But a recent experience suggests this trust may… Continue Reading

FedBizOpps migrated to SAM.gov Contract Opportunities

NextGov – ..but a slow site and data migration issues made for some disgruntled users. “The new website for posting federal market research and solicitation opportunities is now live on beta.SAM.gov … if you can get the page to load. The government’s longtime go-to website for contracting opportunities, Federal Business Opportunities, also known as FedBizOpps… Continue Reading

A Constitutional Right to Public Information

Marzen, Chad G., A Constitutional Right to Public Information (October 19, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3472464 “In the wake of the 2013 United States Supreme Court decision of McBurney v. Young (569 U.S. 221), this Article calls for policymakers at the federal and state levels to ensure governmental records remain open and accessible to the… Continue Reading

This Is How the U.S. Military’s Massive Facial Recognition System Works

Medium OneZero: Documents obtained by OneZero show how the military captures biometric data around the world. “Over the last 15 years, the United States military has developed a new addition to its arsenal. The weapon is deployed around the world, largely invisible, and grows more powerful by the day. That weapon is a vast database,… Continue Reading

GPO has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo, GPO’s one-stop site to authentic, published Government information. Through these digitization efforts, the public can access records of Congressional Hearings for free. These include the transcripts from meetings or sessions of… Continue Reading

We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally

Via @Jack – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey –  “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should… Continue Reading

Computers have an unlikely origin story: the 1890 census

FastCompany – David Lindsay Roberts – “The inventor of punched cards, which led to the first computers and companies like IBM, was aiming to solve a gnarly problem at the time: data collection for the census…The U.S. Constitution requires that a population count be conducted at the beginning of every decade. This census has always been charged… Continue Reading

How Amazon.com moved into the business of U.S. elections

Reuters: “The expansion by Amazon Web Services into state and local elections has quietly gathered pace since the 2016 U.S. presidential vote. More than 40 states now use one or more of Amazon’s election offerings, according to a presentation given by an Amazon executive this year and seen by Reuters. So do America’s two main… Continue Reading

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

ProPublica – Using lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks, Intuit fended off the government’s attempts to make tax filing free and easy, and created its multi-billion-dollar franchise. “…Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting product remains a steady moneymaker, but in the past two decades TurboTax, its tax preparation product, has driven the company’s steadily growing… Continue Reading

News from the Law Library of Congress Chatbot

In Custodia Legis – “Have you tried the Law Library of Congress Chatbot lately? The chatbot provides answers to frequently asked legal reference questions through Facebook Messenger. You can interact with it by clicking through a series of menu options or you can type in a natural language question. The chatbot debuted in October 2017, and… Continue Reading