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Open is the Key Word

It is good to see the Obama Administration is moving forward on its pledge to open up the White House using the Web. The new Open for Questions site is well designed, easy to use and engaging. Let’s hope that this is really the start of a new kind of national conversation. The White House dubs this…

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China Nukes Access to YouTube, Institutes Complete Blackout

On Monday the folks running Google’s China operations began to notice a dramatic drop in YouTube traffic. By Tuesday afternoon YouTube had turned into a digital ghost town; traffic dropped to nearly zero, the company told the New York Times. Chinese officials, big shocker, have given Google no official reason for shutting down access to the video platform,…

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Intermission at USTR’s Transparency Theater

The recent FOIA debacle at the Office of the US Trade Representative is a text-book example of “transparency theater,” a luscious term coined by John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation to describe the comedy of anti-openness and transparency missteps in the first weeks of the Obama Administration. USTR’s recent denial of an FOIA request for documents regarding a highly…

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Circumventing Into a DRM Scheme: of Kindles and Interoperability

In a rather complicated story last week, CNET News reported that Amazon had sent a cease-and-desist letter to the moderator of an online discussion forum dedicated to eBooks, alleging violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPM or digital rights management – DRM) included in digital copyrighted works. …

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New Guidelines Put Sunlight Back Into Government Information Access

Today Attorney General Eric Holder released new federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guidelines that put sunlight back into the process of public access to government information. Holder’s memo encourages each federal agency to release information and not keep it secret “simply because it may do so legally.” This is a tremendous move and is line with…

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USTR Misses the Transparency Memo

When President Obama signed a Transparency and Open Government memo as well as a Freedom of Information Act memo on his first day in office, we were very heartened to see transparency made a key element of the start of this administration. In his first day in office, the President revoked Bush-era policies of data secrecy…

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Google’s Move Into Behavioral Targeting

After several years of saying that it doesn’t target ads based on profiles of users, Google took a giant step into behavioral targeting by beginning to target ads on its AdSense network (although not on search or display advertising… but that only seems to be a matter of time at this point). On the whole, the move…

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Health IT All A “Twitter” During Health Affairs Event

The nation’s preeminent health policy publication, Health Affairs, is holding an event today highlighting a series of major policy papers published in its latest issue. CDT’s Deven McGraw, director of the Health Privacy Project, will speak today about key points contained in one of those papers that she and several CDT colleagues authored for the peer-reviewed journal. HPP’s paper…

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Sen. Lieberman to Congress: Free the CRS Reports

Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports have long among the most sought after unclassified government documents. Despite the fact that these documents are produced with taxpayer money, they have been deliberately kept from easy public accessibility despite repeated calls to "Free CRS Documents." CRS, which generates detailed reports relevant to current political events for lawmakers, are freely available…

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DOJ Memo Justifies Warrantless Surveillance As “Self-Defense”

A September 25, 2001 memorandum released March 2, 2009 by the Justice Department asserts in sweeping language that the attacks of September 11, 2001 justified warrantless surveillance in the U.S. as an act of collective self-defense. “If the government’s heightened interest in self-defense justifies the use of deadly force, then it certainly would also justify warrantless searches,” the…

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