Home » Posts tagged 'Freedom of Information' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: Freedom of Information

Our mission

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.

75 days to Government Information Liberation

As I thought about this week’s remarkable series of electoral and civic revolutions, it got me thinking that between now and Obama’s inauguration on January 20, 2009 offers us a unique opportunity.

Each day I am going to post one specific reason, observation, analysis about how the new political powers in Congress and the White House should think about government information. In particular I want to push back against the nearly ten years of rhetorical tide that swamped the way we talk about the distribution and preservation of information produced by our government.

In particular, I hope we can recapture the conceptual high ground of the whys and hows of the civic conversation about government information. Technology is important. Market forces are compelling. Political partisanship demands committment. But I remember a time when the phrase “documents to the people” actually spoke to a civic form of rhetorical community organizing. Our collections and public services were our store front headquarters in this struggle.

So, here is my first thought of the day: any depository library program’s purpose transcends both format or its distribution mechanism. The programs long-standing purpose is to sustain the free and permanent access to government information. This can and must happen regardless of how the depository libraries, or their host institutions, arrange their services or materials.

Let the conversation begin and see you tomorrow.

Happy Document Freedom Day!

Today is the world’s first Document Freedom Day! About 200 teams from more than 60 countries worldwide are organizing local activities to raise awareness for Document Freedom and Open Standards. The site also has a pamphlet to print and distribute, as well as information on open standards, document standards, and more.

Keynote Speech from National FOI Day Conference

The First Amendment Center posted the full-text of the 2008 National FOI Day Conference’s keynote speech, “A New Balancing Test: How Excessive Classification Undermines National Security” by J. William Leonard, former chief of the Information Security Oversight Office.

Leonard quipped that his remarks on government secrecy would be his most candid, “a sort of ‘Leonard Unplugged’ if you will for those of you into the MTV scene”. He discussed instances of excessive secrecy that produced serious consequences, including the decision to go to war in Iraq, stating, “Secrecy comes at a price – sometimes a deadly price – often through its impact upon the decision-making process”.

He also proposed a new way for government officials to determine whether information needs to be classified in the interest of national security; what he calls the “New Balancing Test”:

“We are long familiar with what many regard as the “traditional” balancing test of national security versus openness – of secrecy versus transparency. Instead, the balancing test of which I talk is more along the lines of national security versus national security; i.e. what will cause greater damage to national security, the disclosing or withholding of specific information”.

National Freedom of Information Coalition Conference

The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) will hold a national conference, entitled, “2008 FOI Summit“, May 9-10, 2008 in Philadelphia, PA.

Here are some of the panels:

FOI Reform Efforts: Rewriting your state’s laws?
FOI 2.0: Wikis and podcasts and blogs, oh my!
Sunshine Week Roundtable
Coalition Care and Feeding