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USTR Makes a Down Payment on ACTA Transparency

We’ve been saying for a while now that negotiations on ACTA — the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — suffer from a serious transparency deficit. Today, USTR took the helpful step of releasing a summary of the structure of ACTA and the items that may be included in it. The biggest positive here is the apparent recognition…

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HHS Nominee Sebelius Calls Health IT a “Linchpin” of Health Reform

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s nominee for HHS Secretary, expressed her commitment to health information technology Tuesday calling it a “linchpin” of health care reform, during a confirmation hearing that buffeted her with questions on the issue. Health IT was clearly a “hot topic” during Gov. Sebelius‘ hearing; that emphasis stood…

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GSA Opens Door to New Media for Federal Agencies

Many Government 2.0 advocates are frustrated that government agencies and employees can’t use the services that citizens use every day- so government can’t interact with citizens where they already engage. GSA announced last week that this may be changing, and agencies can now choose to take advantage of some of these services. The GSA has been quietly negotiating with…

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The Fusion of Paranoia and Bad Policy

Last week, the Missouri Information Analysis Center (the Missouri fusion center) retracted a report entitled "The Modern Militia Movement" which said that support for mainstream third party presidential candidates was indicative of involvement in violent militia groups. The Missouri fusion center’s characterization of people engaged in legitimate political activity as potentially dangerous drew public condemnation and…

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Cybersecurity: It’s Us and Them, Not Us vs. Them

Government cybersecurity efforts have been shrouded in too much secrecy, CDT said in a Policy Post released today. Greater openness is needed to ensure the public understanding of cybersecurity efforts, while also holding government accountable for its efforts. Of course not every jot and tittle of the government’s cybersecurity strategy needs to be…

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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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