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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.

Bipartisan Data-Mining Bill

Senators Feingold and Sununu have introduced a bill seeking disclosure of federal data-mining activities.

The legislation:

…requires all federal agencies to report to Congress, in classified form if need be, within 180 days and every year thereafter on certain data mining programs and how these programs impact the civil liberties and privacy of Americans.

While we at FGI would prefer a public report, or at least one that included all 435 Members of Congress, this is a good start towards better oversight of the administrations many reported surveillance programs.

This bill is similar to legislation that died in the last Congress, but will hopefully have a better chance with a Democratic majority in both houses.

Of course if it passes, the President may well try to void the reporting requirements with a Presidential Signing Statement. If that happens, perhaps it will finally provoke judicial scrutiny of such statements.