"Early June" is over and the Senate never did vote on cybersecurity legislation as they were expected to. But that doesn't mean their bill, and the internet privacy obliterating provisions in it, are dead. According to new reports, the supporters of the leading cybersecurity bill in the Senate are putting on a full-court press to hold a vote as soon as possible.Read Full Article Comments (16)
This past Monday & Tuesday in NYC was Personal Democracy Forum Conference, the best in the game - great assemblage of tech-policy thinkers. My eighth year in a row, eight of nine overall, wouldn't miss it. Please find below videos of a couple of my favorite presentations (click through).
Help PPF with a charitable donation, and we'll build more free Web tools for activism like Yochai describes - libre, open-source, non-partisan, and not-for-profit. We can faciliate more distributed, stop-SOPA style activism around a broader range of bills & legislative issues.Read Full Article Comments (18)
Hypothetical- you care about an issue: catastrophic climate degradation, net neutrality, extreme income inequality, single-payer health care, student loan forgiveness. Let's say the U.S. Congress has public information about this issue that is of core relevance, but refuses to open the primary source data to the public in full. For well over five years, technical & public-interest advocates outside government have worked in good-faith efforts to educate Congress that the data can straightforwardly be released & safeguarded - indeed, the data is already being screen-scraped several times a day & provided to free public Web resources (as best as possible). An Act of Congress calls explicitly for the information to be released. Several previous task forces failed to have real-world effects and clouded the issue unnecessarily, with no accountability or communication or recourse for open data advocates.Read Full Article Comments (2)
Update June 6th 7pm ET: hmm, some encouraging words from House GOP Leadership, summarized expertly by our ally Daniel Schuman: Major Transparency Milestone in Bulk Access Statement. We'll be watchdogging the process... a bit more inside.
Previously: THOMAS.loc.gov is the public-facing website for federal legislative information - bills, actions, votes, etc. The many closed databases that populate THOMAS are, for practical purposes, the primary source of laws from the U.S. Congress. These laws shape the experience of our contemporary lives & political landscape.
Attendees of the Legislative Data & Transparency Conference from Feb. 2012, I invite you to publicly stand behind the House Approps Subcommittee statements & those of Rep. Crenshaw (R, FL-04) as Chair. Edited June 6th 9am ET: new names this morning: Dr. Billington, on behalf of LoC; Davita Vance-Cooks, on behalf of GPO; invite you to take a stand on behalf of your insitutions.
... click through for more links & justified impatience. Let's have a public discourse about #FreeTHOMAS. It's been over ten years for Josh at GovTrack; five years since OC launched; three years since the bulk data task force; etc. Come on.Read Full Article Comments (1)
Stopping Congress from screwing up the Internet, again.
Earlier this year, people from all over the Internet rallied to stop SOPA and PIPA, the Internet censorship bills. That was great, but now members of Congress (and the telecom and media companies) are once again trying to destroy the Internet. With SOPA, they tried to give the government wide-ranging authority to shut down huge portions of the Internet. This time they're going to destroy the your privacy. But not if we can help it.Read Full Article Comments (6)
PPF is proud to stand with our allies the Sunlight Foundation, GovTrack.us, and many others in the #opengov & legal informatics community in calling for #opengovdata - specifically, to oppose H.R. 5882 (sponsor: Rep. Ander Crenshaw [R , FL-04]) in its current form as it's planned to be brought to the House floor this week.
We called our long-planned wiki-whip-count effort on OC: #FreeTHOMAS. Now, we have the specific legislative item from the House Subcommittee on Legislative Appropriations: click here to email your reps in opposition to H.R. 5882. Click through for more info & outrage. Totally unacceptable that we still don't have bulk access to public bill data.Read Full Article Comments (1)
The U.S. Congress is a baffling, systemically-corrupt, closed-off institution. OpenCongress works every day to make its workings more accessible and give you the real story behind what's happening.
Help us keep OpenCongress alive as a free & open-source public resource.
OpenCongress will launch a new fundraising drive next month and we need some volunteer web development time to make it happen. Click through to see how you can help.
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Last week there was a brief flurry on the micropublishing service re: possibility of a version control system (VCS) for laws. Background links via the incredible research of Rob Richards - this post by Abe Volcker on "GitLaw" made a splash on Hacker News. Here's an unedited-draft, non-exhaustive, quick-fast sketch of a response from my point of view.
First, though, please read this enlightening Quora thread in full: "What are the nontechnical barriers to adopting a version control system for use in writing bills / new laws?" My apologies to have a pre-requisite, but it's crucial background & full of expert insight.
Click through for my take on public accountability through an open VCS for laws. (I'm bullish!)
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Update, May 30th, 2012, 5pm ET: Ohh hell no. They're blocking you, you reading this now, from accessing #opendata about bills in Congress. This afternoon, Daniel Schuman & Eric Mill with our partners Sunlight Foundation posted this seriously unfortunate, significantly discouraging, sadly expected update: "Appropriators May Undercut Legislative Transparency".
Primary point of contact here should be office of Rep. Ander Crenshaw [R, FL-04], on behalf of the intentionally, insistently closed-off Legislative Branch Subcommittee. Give them a ring and let them know that even if you're not a constituent, you demand bulk access to public legislative information - Rep. Crenshaw's office phone is 202-225-2501. Click through for more updates.Read Full Article Comments (15)
Please watch it in full & share it: Blueprint for Democratic Participation.
Help us facilitate more stop-SOPA-style civic engagement on OpenCongress - around the economy, education, health care, the environment, immigration, technology, or any issue imaginable - support our not-for-profit work. Click through for more of my thoughts on the importance of the stop-SOPA / PIPA movement for netfreedom, as well as why this research is so important for our core non-profit mission of promoting participatory democracy through free Web tools.Read Full Article Comments (41)
Remember the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its language "affirming" the military's power to indefinitely detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, without charge or trial? Well, the 2013 NDAA bill begins its journey through the legislative process tomorrow morning in the House Armed Services Committee; take a look at what power they'll be trying to affirm for the Defense Department this time around:Read Full Article Comments (19)
Remember the harsh budget trigger the government was supposed to face as a reprecussion of the deficit supercommittee's epic failure? Yeah, well, Congress this week is going to start working on a way to avoid that. Under a series of bills to be voted on in the House this week, the budget trigger would be revised to eliminate $600 billion in scheduled defense cuts over the next decade and increase cuts to social programs. According to the AP, one quarter of the new spending cuts would "come from programs directly benefiting the poor, such as Medicaid, food stamps, the Social Services Block Grant, and a child tax credit claimed by working immigrants."Read Full Article Comments (10)
After indicating that they may veto the House's cybersecurity bill (CISPA) over privacy concerns, the Obama Administration is reaffirming its support for a competing cybersecurity bill in the Senate, the Lieberman-Collins "Cybersecurity Act of 2012." Problem is, the Lieberman-Collins bill is nearly as bad on privacy as CISPA.Read Full Article Comments (2)
In a snap vote last night, the House of Representatives passed the controversial Cyberintelligence Sharing and Protection Act, more commonly known as CISPA. The final roll call was 248-168, with most of the Republicans voting in favor and most of the Democrats voting against.Read Full Article Comments (27)
With taxes fresh on everyone's mind, Congress is returning from a two-week recess today and will immediately begin voting on a series of partisan tax bills. The first vote, which will be in the Senate, is the Democrats' so-called "Buffet Rule" that would ensure that people who earn more than $1 million per year pay an effective 30 percent tax rate. That vote -- technically on defeating a GOP filibuster on the motion to proceed -- will take place this afternoon.Read Full Article Comments (13)