Here are some links to stories and opinions about last week's announcement of a The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.
The announcement: The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Posted by Howard A. Schmidt on June 25, 2010, The White House Blog.
The draft strategy itself: National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace - Creating Options for Enhanced Online Security and Privacy, Department of Homeland Security (June 25, 2010)
- White House Proposes Vast Federal Internet Identity Scheme by Lauren Weinstein (June 25, 2010). "a rather chilling document -- tellingly hosted on Department of Homeland Security servers -- that proposes the creation of a vast, federally-led Trusted identities in Cyberspace infrastructure that would potentially reach into nearly every aspect of Internet use, from financial transactions to comments on blogs."
- White House wants to help you "blog anonymously". By Jon Stokes. ars technica (June 29, 2010)
- Analysis: Three privacy initiatives from the Office of Management and Budget. by Andy Oram, O'Reilly Radar, (Jun 28, 2010). "I can understand the strategy's reliance on PKI as the only social structure available to back up assertions of identity. But this is the wobbly leg of the table that holds up the OMB proposal. The document should recognize the flaws of PKI..."
Have questions about how the federal government is responding to the BP oil spill? This new web site seeks to provide answers.
- Mapping the Response to BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Interior.
The dynamic nature of the BP oil spill has been a challenge for a range of communities -- from hotel operators to fishermen to local community leaders....
GeoPlatform.gov/gulfresponse is a new online tool that provides you with near-real time information about the response effort. Developed by NOAA with the EPA, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Interior, the site offers you a "one-stop shop" for spill response information.
The site integrates the latest data the federal responders have about the oil spill's trajectory with fishery area closures, wildlife data and place-based Gulf Coast resources -- such as pinpointed locations of oiled shoreline and current positions of deployed research ships -- into one customizable interactive map.
GeoPlatform.gov/gulfresponse employs the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) a web-based GIS platform developed by NOAA and the University of New Hampshire’s Coastal Response Research Center.
Steven Aftergood from the Federation of American Scientists has a thoughtful review of Wikileaks on Secrecy News today. He says that some of what Wikileaks does is "not whistleblowing and it is not journalism. It is a kind of information vandalism" and that "calling WikiLeaks a whistleblower site does not accurately reflect the character of the project."
- Wikileaks Fails “Due Diligence” Review. by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (June 28th, 2010)
From one perspective, WikiLeaks is a creative response to a real problem afflicting the U.S. and many other countries, namely the over-control of government information to the detriment of public policy. WikiLeaks has published a considerable number of valuable official records that had been kept unnecessarily secret and were otherwise unavailable...
[but] WikiLeaks must be counted among the enemies of open society because it does not respect the rule of law nor does it honor the rights of individuals.
CQ Researcher has a new report on offshore drilling. As usual for such report, there are lots of good references to government publications.
- Offshore Drilling: Is tougher federal oversight needed? By Thomas J. Billitteri, CQ Researcher (June 25, 2010m Volume 20, Issue 24). [subscription required]
Online 'Cookies' Crumble Under Tougher Fed Guidelines, by Chris Strohm, Tech Daily Dose (June 25, 2010).
An OMB spokesman said that the federal government is issuing new policies today governing how agencies may use Web "cookie" files and other technologies to collect information from visitors to government Websites.
While government information specialists mostly focus on information by the government, our users also want and need information about the government and the political process. Here is an interesting case of a website that tracks the political promises of those running for governor in California.
- Politics Verbatim collects and categorizes the promises, proposals, arguments and attacks made by the two major-party candidates for governor in California, Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. The site allows voters to drill down on issues and hold the candidates accountable.
- California Watch launches Politics Verbatim, by Mark Katches, California Watch blog (June 21, 2010)
"Check out the search tool that Davis created. It allows readers to sort candidate statements by nine different categories – including promises, attacks, and vague policy points. If they dodge an issue or a subject, there’s a search category for that, too. Readers can also sort by geography, to see where the candidates have been appearing – and what parts of the state they’ve been ignoring....
"The candidates’ statements are sorted by 26 topics -- from abortion to welfare."
The Design for America Winners, by Clay Johnson, Sunlight Labs (05/26/2010).
The Design for America contest led to the most compelling, interesting visualizations of any of our contests. With about 72 entries, the design community stepped up and showed amazing ways for us to view government and imagine new ways for government to serve citizens.
All in all, our winners were wonderful -- each entry is a different vision of how government could be. Each entry either shows us how government could look or how government does work.
There is no new good news about PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), but at least the issues are being aired and investigated.
On Tuesday, June 22, the Advisory Committee on Transparency will host a briefing entitled “Transparency Made Easy: How to Make the Government More Open and Accountable” (announcement).
There are useful background documents about PACER listed in the announcement:
- One pager description of The Problem with PACER, Princeton University, June 15, 2010
- What Does It Cost to Provide Electronic Public Access to Court Records, Stephen Schultze, May 29, 2010
- Electronic Public Access Fees and the United States Federal Courts’ Budget: An Overview, September 4, 2009, Working Paper by Stephen? Schultze.
- RECAP "Better Access to Public Court Records." (RECAP is a free extension for Firefox that improves the experience of using PACER, the electronic public access system for the U.S. Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts.)
Kudos to Stephen Schultze, a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, for the excellent work he continues to do in this area!!
Last week, James made a modest announcement of the biggest development in digital deposit in decades.
This means that GPO is assisting the LOCKSS-USDOCS project in preserving content harvested from fdsys.gov. That means we are developing a geographically distributed network of digital archives. There are already 18 libraries participating, including 4 regionals. As James pointed out, this "replicates key aspects of the FDLP in the digital environment and furthers the concept of 'digital deposit,' an essential component of the digital FDLP."
One indicator of the importance of this project in the world of digital preservation is that the Association of Computing Machinery's technology newsletter, ACM TechNews, lists the project today.
- Stanford Helps to Digitally Preserve Mountains of Documents, ACM TechNews, June 21, 2010.
Although LOCKSS-USDOCS is still essentially a backup of FDSYS (the content only gets made accessible if the live content goes away), this is still an enormous step in the right direction for digital preservation, both technically and politically. It was fairly recently that GPO seemed to want nothing to do with LOCKSS (See: GPO LOCKSS report: Why LOCKSS vs. FDsys? and GPO, LOCKSS, IP Authentication, and the future of FDLP -- more clarification needed.) Now, GPO is actively collaborating with depository libraries by putting LOCKSS permission statements throughout the FDsys.gov site in order for LOCKSS-USDOCS to harvest GPO content. This is a huge change in GPO's attitude from 3 years ago!
Now that we are beginning to have a distributed digital backup of FDsys, we can begin to look forward to the next steps of digital deposit in which documents and data will be deposited into live digital library collections for active retrieval and use.
Congratulations go to James, Stanford, LOCKSS, and GPO!!
Data.gov To House New APIs, By Dawn Lim, TechInsider (06/21/10).
A series of new application programming interfaces - tools that facilitate interaction between datasets and other software programs - will make it easier for developers to play and interact with the content on Data.gov, the online repository of federal information and a cornerstone of the open government initiative.
But those are just the preliminary steps to establishing a self-running ecosystem that will convert raw government data into valuable content and interesting applications, a White House technology expert said last week at a government IT forum.
Data.gov's next big thing: Mashing up federal stats with maps, By Aliya Sternstein, NextGov (06/18/2010).
Within the next month, data.gov will offer the public a chance to preview a so-called viewer that will let them combine many of the 270,000 data sets posted on Data.gov with maps.
Here's a nice little mashup from Forbes. They created an interactive map visualizing migration data into and out of US counties based on 2008 IRS data*. The black lines represent people moving to a certain place, the red lines are people moving out. TONS of people moving to SF (where I live). No wonder I have to stand in line so long for my strawberry balsamic ice cream fix from BiRite Creamery!
*I went looking for said IRS migration data and found that:
The County-to-County Migration Data are updated annually and available for purchase as follows:
* $200 per year for the entire United States
* $10 per year per State
* $500 for the entire United States for all years
It's unfortunate to say the least that IRS feels the need to charge for access to public domain data that the public has already paid for once already. Has anyone come across other data sets like this? please leave us a comment.
But what the GPO press release didn't explain is that, as part of GPO's participation in the LOCKSS Alliance, GPO will assist the LOCKSS-USDOCS project (which I'm organizing) in preserving content harvested from fdsys.gov in a geographically distributed network of digital archives. GPO has put LOCKSS permission statements (for example here, and here and here) throughout the FDsys.gov site in order for LOCKSS-USDOCS to harvest GPO content. LOCKSS-USDOCS -- which is 18 libraries strong (including 4 regionals!) and growing -- replicates key aspects of the FDLP in the digital environment and furthers the concept of "digital deposit," an essential component of the digital FDLP.
We're actively looking for other libraries to participate in the project, especially regionals. Together we can provide an essential digital preservation piece to the FDLP. Please contact me (jrjacobs AT stanford DOT edu) with questions or interest.
--That is all.
We have now gone two months on the Lost Docs Blog, without a false positive. None of the 33 reports made to GPO and posted by us were in the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) at the time the report was made.
Five of the 33 reported items that were posted to the blog in April have been cataloged by GPO since the initial report. You can see the cataloged items by visiting http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/found/ and looking for items with a May 2010 date. We are appreciative of these items being cataloged.
There were six instances where a record for the paper item was in the CGP, but there was no indication this item was also available electronic. To view these items, visit http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/catalog-eversion/ and look for items with a May 2010 date.
If you like the concept of a public listing of fugitive documents reported to GPO, there are a number of easy ways to help us:
- If you report a fugitive document to GPO, send your e-mailed receipt to email@example.com. We welcome any item reported to GPO in the past month. It is best if you can send us the receipt the same day you get it from GPO. Some e-mail programs will support auto-forwarding. If so, please consider autoforwarding items where the subject contains "lostdocs submission."
- Visit the blog at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info and comment on the listed items. Comments can include -- Did your library receive the item? Did you find it in the CGP? Do you think the item is out of scope for the CGP? Did you report the item as well and so on.
- Post the blog link to your website or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
- Subscribe to the blog feed at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/feed/
or better yet incorporate the feed into your website or blog.
As I was tardily working on the May 2010 Lost Docs Report and Appeal, I noticed a few of pre-spill Minerals Management Service (MMS) documents dealing with the Gulf of Mexico reported to GPO that have not yet been cataloged. I'm posting links here in hopes that people may find them useful in the "Before and After" comparisons that will eventually be made.
Northern Gulf of Mexico Continental Slope Habitats and Benthic Ecology Study. July 2009
Post-Hurricane Assessment of Sensitive Habitats of the Flower Garden Banks Vicinity. July 2009
Foraminiferal Communities of Bathyal Hydrocarbon Seeps, Northern Gulf of Mexico
Lest anyone get the idea I'm accusing GPO of hiding MMS documents, I want to acknowledge that GPO has cataloged most of the MMS items reported to it that we are aware of. See http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/tag/minerals-management-service/ for titles received by the Lost Docs Blog.
I'm in 2 minds about this as well as similar digitization plans. On the one hand, the digitization of Smithsonian collections -- books, research reports, data, music, film and other sounds (like frog vocalizations!) -- will mean potentially a boon to online access to some really amazing materials.
On the other hand, this quote from the executive summary worries me:
To preserve our collections, the Smithsonian constantly battles the destructive forces of time and environment. Despite our best efforts, plastics discolor, wax cylinder recordings distort, and botanical specimens become brittle. Digitization offers a way to make objects — and the valuable information they contain — available without jeopardizing their integrity by handling or by exposure to the elements.
While they mention a "life cycle-management approach to digitization," there doesn't seem to be a serious amount of thought given to the fact that digital objects degrade faster than physical objects, and that digital preservation is an ongoing and potentially more expensive effort. I worry that SI.edu will broker the same kind of disastrous deal that GAO did with Thomson-West whereby a whole swath of public domain information was privatized.
I would call on SI.edu and ALL .gov agencies to insert a clause into ANY digitization contract that ALL digital files and metadata will be accessible via free and open sites. That means where applicable, copies of all digital content would be ingested into GPO's FDsys, Library of Congress, NARA and/or publicly accessible non-profit sites (eg. UNT digital library or Internet Archive). Please help us get this message across to your friends in the .gov sector. Public information should remain public!
In an article entitled "In Supreme Court Work, Early Views of Kagan" Charlie Savage at the NY Times has just released a ton(!) of memos written by SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan during her time as a young law clerk working for Justice Thurgood Marshall at the Supreme Court.
The latest release with more than 46,500 pages re: SCOTUS Nominee, Elena Kagan, are now available on The Clinton Library Web Site.
or Download Seven Large PDF Files (about 205 Megs each) and Access All Pages in All Files
See Also: Previously Released Documents re: Elena Kagan
[Thanks for the heads-up Gary Price at ResourceShelf!]
This was just tweeted by the folks at the Sunlight Foundation and I thought the infographic was really sweet:
The graphic above (see full size here) was one of the winners in the Sunlight Foundation's recent Design for America contest. There's also an excellent guide to the Senate rules, and a brilliant, user-friendly redesign of the IRS website. You can see all the winners here.
Thanks Mike Wirth for the killer infographic and thanks Sunlight Foundation for a well done Design for America contest!
White House to tie together mapping and data sites, By Aliya Sternstein NextGov, 05/28/2010.
"The White House has contracted with a major developer of mapping software to merge a federal website that publishes geospatial information with Data.gov, the government's depot for downloadable data sets, the company's president said on Thursday.
"California-based ESRI began last summer tying Data.gov to Geodata.gov, the geospatial information gateway, said company President Jack Dangermond in an interview with Nextgov."