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Category Archives: E-Records

How Climate Change Web Content is Being Censored Under the Trump Administration

“On January 10, 2018 the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) [released] Changing the Digital Climate: How Climate Change Web Content is Being Censored Under the Trump Administration, the third installment of EDGI’s series of reports evaluating the environmental impacts of the first year of the Trump administration. Changing the Digital Climate draws on the growing library of reports produced by EDGI’s website monitoring working group, which monitors changes to tens of thousands of federal webpages relating to environment, climate, and energy. We describe trends in the treatment of climate change across federal websites, including a clear pattern of censorship of climate change information and resources. While there is no evidence that any climate data have been removed, we document significant language shifts and loss of public access to information.

Key Findings:

  • Removal of information and key documents downplaying US involvement in international climate change efforts.
  • Systematic changes to language about climate change, such as replacement of  “climate change” and “greenhouse gases” with vaguer terms such as “sustainability” and “emissions,” and removal of terms such as  “clean energy.”
  • Widespread shifts deemphasizing renewable fuels as replacements for fossil fuels, and prioritization of job creation and economic growth.
  • Removal or significant de-emphasis of climate change information from many agencies’ websites, most notably the EPA.

These documented changes matter because they:

  • Make it harder for the public to access the results of years of scientific and policy research funded by their tax dollars.
  • Diminish our democratic institutions, such as notice-and-comment rulemaking, which depend on an informed public.
  • Can confuse the public if significant changes are not sufficiently justified.
  • Contribute to broader climate denialist efforts that obscure and cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change, hampering critically-important efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

DHS Handbook for Safeguarding Sensitive PII

Handbook for Safeguarding Sensitive PII Privacy Policy Directive 047-01-007, Revision 3. Published by the DHS Privacy Office. December 4, 2017. This Handbook provides best practices and DHS policy requirements to prevent a privacy incident involving PII/SPII during all stages of the information lifecycle: when collecting, storing, using, disseminating, or disposing of PII/SPII. This handbook explains:… Continue Reading

DOJ Publishes New Guidance on FOIA Websites

[November 30, 2017– DOJ]: “OIP [Office of Information Policy] published updated guidance for agency FOIA websites. This new guidance, Agency FOIA Websites 2.0, encourages agencies to review their FOIA websites to ensure they contain essential resources, and are informative and user-friendly. While the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 required agencies to use… Continue Reading

The Next Version of RECAP is Now Live

“The original RECAP extension for Firefox was launched eight years ago. [November 13, 2017] we launched an all new version. Since the original launch in 2009, we’ve kept the system running smoothly, added a Chrome extension, and — with your help — collected and shared information about tens of millions of PACER documents. [On November… Continue Reading

Rising to the risk: Cybersecurity top concern of corporate counsel

“Risk management is not just a compliance exercise but an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. More than ever, legal departments are playing a significant role in managing risk and monitoring its effectiveness, especially in the critical area of cybersecurity. Grant Thornton and Corporate Counsel magazine recently surveyed over 190 corporate general counsel to assess… Continue Reading

FBI database for gun buyers missing millions of records

FBI database for gun buyers missing millions of records by WaPo’s Devlin Barrett, Sandhya Somashekhar and Alex Horton: “The FBI’s background-check system is missing millions of records of criminal convictions, mental illness diagnoses and other flags that would keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands, a gap that contributed to the shooting deaths of 26… Continue Reading

GSA launches U.S. Emerging Citizen Technology Atlas

“The U.S. Emerging Citizen Technology Atlas is an open source one-stop shop for U.S. federal government Artificial Intelligence for Citizen Services, Blockchain, and soon Virtual and Augmented Reality and Social Technologies. Anyone from federal managers and policy-makers to U.S. businesses, researchers, and the public can analyze and update with: 1. Use cases for the practical… Continue Reading

White House deleted chat and social apps from government devices

FCW.com: “White House officials no longer have text or social media messaging apps on their official phones because of records management headaches, according to a letter from a key House oversight official. The news came in an account of an Oct. 18 staff briefing on the administration’s records management practices from three officials in the… Continue Reading

National Archives warned Trump White House to preserve documents

Politico – Josh Dawsey and Bryan Bender, 10/17/2017: “National Archives officials have periodically warned White House lawyers that the Trump administration needs to follow document preservation laws, according to people familiar with the conversations and emails reviewed by POLITICO. The White House legally must preserve all presidential records, which are given to the National Archives… Continue Reading

NIH emails reveal divisions over renewal of gun research program

Science: “For weeks, questions have swirled around the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) decision to shelve a firearms research program that was launched at the urging of former President Barack Obama’s administration after 20 children and six educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, late in 2012. Among other… Continue Reading

DHS issues operational network security directive to all federal agencies

FCW.com: “The Department of Homeland Security is requiring agencies to use new email and web security guidelines that address man-in-the-middle attacks. A binding operational directive from DHS gives federal agencies 90 days to implement a pair of tools, Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) and STARTTLS. DMARC is an email authentication tool designed to… Continue Reading

GAO – Presidential Transition: Information on Ethics, Funding, and Agency Services

Presidential Transition: Information on Ethics, Funding, and Agency Services – GAO-17-615R: Published: Sep 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Oct 10, 2017 – “The change from one presidential administration to the next is a complex process requiring coordination among many parties, including the outgoing President, federal agencies, the President-elect, anda Transition Team. During a transition, the President-elect… Continue Reading