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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Check out NASA’s new searchable database of space pics and video!

Solar flares from NASA image database
NASA just made my day! The U.S. space agency launched a new web-based search engine for much of its catalog of images, video and audio files, browsable by keyword and metadata.

All the content on the site is embeddable, and there are multiple resolutions to choose from for downloads. The site also shows image metadata, so you can see what equipment was used when they were captured. There’s also a caption file available for all video, so you can easily include subtitles with clips when reposting.

NASA notes that this isn’t a comprehensive collection of its available media, but a representative and deep collection with an easy-to-access public interface. It’s also planning to expand this collection over time.

HT TechCrunch!.

We Have 24 Hours to Save Online Privacy Rules

We Have 24 Hours to Save Online Privacy Rules BY KATE TUMMARELLO, Electronic Frontier Foundation.

We are one vote away from a world where your ISP can track your every move online and sell that information to the highest bidder. Call your lawmakers now and tell them to protect federal online privacy rules.

The Senate voted last week 50-48 on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal the FCC’s privacy rules. Now the resolution heads over the House, where it’s scheduled to get a vote on Tuesday.

Activists Use FOIA to Ensure Availability of Thousands of Federal Datasets

The Center for Biological Diversity has announced an effort to prevent hundreds of environmental datasets on government websites from being removed by the Trump administration. Three separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for data sets have been submitted to eight federal agencies. Many (perhaps most) of the datasets requested are currently available on government websites. A provision (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2)(D)) of the 2016 FOIA Amendments requires agencies to post online in the agency’s FOIA Reading Room documents that are requested "3 or more times."

The FOIA requests were filed by The Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Media and Democracy, and conservation biologist Stuart Pimm.

The eight agencies are: the Army Corps of Engineers, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the departments of agriculture, commerce, energy and interior.

The FOIA requests seek hundreds of data sets on energy usage, renewables, oil and gas projections, coal reserves, climate data, sea-level rise, human population, environmental justice and the status of scores of endangered and threatened species and other wildlife.

Cuts to Environmental Monitoring “Willfully Blinding” the Nation

Scientific American reports that many science policy experts are "startled" by the Trump administration’s proposed budget for 2018 that envisions dramatic cuts in funds for monitoring air and water quality, climate change and more.

Pres. Donald Trump’s administration could be willfully blinding itself—and the nation—when it comes to the environment…

[T]he consequences of weakening U.S. environmental monitoring abilities would be serious for everyone, says Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science for the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists’ Climate and Energy Program, echoing other policy experts. “So many people need our environmental intelligence," she says. “It’s saving lives, saving businesses money and reducing harm.”

Noting that the budget proposes cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 31 percent, which would eliminate 3,200 EPA positions, and would reduce its Office of Research and Development budget by almost half, Kei Koizumi, visiting scholar at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) says, “Even if the agency is able to get data about the environment, it wouldn’t have the scientists and research conditions to make sense of it.” The article also says that the EPA cuts would affect grants to outside groups that track the environment.

FGI theme issue

Sorry for the odd look gentle readers. We’re experiencing some technical issues with our site’s theme, so I’ve switched over to another theme while we work them out. The site should be fully functional, but if you experience any problems, please let us know at admin AT freegovinfo DOT info.

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