Congressional Research Service Questions Open Government Initiative

CRS Questions Open Government Initiative

SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2011, Issue No. 15
February 14, 2011

Secrecy News Blog:  http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

The Congressional Research Service took a decidedly skeptical view of the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative in a recently updated report (pdf).  The report called into question not only the implementation of the Administration’s transparency policy but also its underlying rationale. “Arguably, releasing previously unavailable datasets to the public increases transparency,” the report granted.  “The new datasets offer the public more information than was previously available, making the particular issue area more transparent.  But this type of transparency does not give Congress or the public much insight into how the federal government itself operates or executes policies,” the CRS report said. But even bona fide transparency may not be altogether positive, the CRS report suggested.  “…Increased participation may increase trust in the federal government while concurrently reducing the speed of government action.  Additionally, increased government transparency may prompt security and privacy concerns.”

For full text of the Secrecy News article, click here.

The bulk of the CRS report was written last year, but it was updated last month.  See “The Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress,” January 28, 2011.

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