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Open Government Directive

On December 8, 2009, President Barack Obama issued the Open Government Directive, articulating an initiative to make the federal government more transparent, efficient, and accessible. The Directive spells out specific projects and important shifts in governance so as to effect fundamental improvement. The reform efforts surrounding Reboot.FCC.gov exist to modernize the FCC and make it a model in government. They address both the letter and the spirit of the Directive. Updates on specific Directive projects are below and the public can follow further news and initiatives at Reboot.FCC.gov. More importantly, citizens should join the discussion and take part in modernizing the FCC both online and offline.

"The three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration form the cornerstone of an open government. Transparency promotes accountability by providing the public with information about what the Government is doing. Participation allows members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise so that their government can make policies with the benefit of information that is widely dispersed in society. Collaboration improves the effectiveness of Government by encouraging partnerships and cooperation within the Federal Government, across levels of government, and between the Government and private institutions."

Open Government Directive

Progress of the Open Government Directive at the Federal Communications Commission

High-value data sets: "Within 45 days, each agency shall identify and publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets (see attachment section 3.a.i) and register those data sets via Data.gov. These must be data sets not previously available online or in a downloadable format."

The recently launched FCC.gov/data serves as a hub to provide open access to all public data help at the FCC. This is a work in progress. Over 65 datasets, 40 search engines, and 60 XML feeds are currently available, but the work to both expand and improve the current offerings will not end but rather remain in a state of progress. The FCC expects to add data sets to Data.gov in the near future. The public is invited to join the discussion to further this project.

Reboot.FCC.gov is the FCC's open government page: "Within 60 days, each agency shall create an Open Government Webpage located at http://www.[agency].gov/open to serve as the gateway for agency activities related to the Open Government Directive and shall maintain and update that webpage in a timely fashion."

This page fulfills the directive's requirements. Though further updates will be added here, the public is encouraged to both stay informed on and get involved in FCC Reform at Reboot.FCC.gov.

Public Feedback: "Each Open Government Webpage shall incorporate a mechanism for the public to: Give feedback on and assessment of the quality of published information; Provide input about which information to prioritize for publication; and Provide input on the agency's Open Government Plan."

Please join the discussion below and throughout Reboot.FCC.gov.

FOIA Annual Report: "Each agency shall publish its annual Freedom of Information Act Report in an open format on its Open Government Webpage in addition to any other planned dissemination methods."

The FCC Freedom of Information Act 2009 Annual Report includes data available for download in CSV spreadsheet format.

FOIA Backlog: "Each agency with a significant backlog of outstanding Freedom of Information requests shall take steps to reduce any such backlog by ten percent each year."

Click here for an update on FOIA requests at the FCC. The Commission processes almost 95% of the initial FOIA requests it receives within the statutory time limits. In addition, by the end of FY 2009, the Commission had reduced its backlog of FOIA applications for review (i.e., administrative appeals) by 81%, such that only 5 backlogged applications for review remained to be decided.

Plain Writing Act: President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010 into law on Oct. 13, 2010, requiring all federal agencies use "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use."

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires the agency to make sure that documents covered by the law reflect plain writing as of Oct. 13, 2011.

Specific Open Government Initiatives: "Each agency shall comply with guidance on implementing specific Presidential open government initiatives, such as Data.gov, eRulemaking, IT Dashboard, Recovery.gov, and USAspending.gov."

This work is in process. We welcome comments on these efforts through Reboot.FCC.gov.

Discussion:

How can the FCC improve its work on the Open Government Directive?

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