White House moves on open government

Effort to make government more open moves from brainstorming to discussion phase

Officials plan to use White House blogs to discuss recommendations on how to make government more open and transparent, according to a blog post today by Beth Noveck, the White House’s deputy chief technology officer for open government.

There are three phases to the initial process to engage the public in the open-government initiative: brainstorming, discussion and drafting. The brainstorming phase is winding down, and officials are now moving to the discussion phase, Noveck said.

That phase will involve analyzing the information collected during brainstorming into recommendations officials can act on, Noveck said. “In this discussion phase, we start by thinking more deeply about the principles that should define transparency and guide our policy priorities,” she wrote.

Figuring out the best way to share on-time data about airlines is an example of the choices the Obama administration has to make when it comes to transparency, she said. Having the data publicly available might ensure more informed regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration, which makes having accurate data the most important factor.

“If the goal is to help travelers make better-informed travel decisions, then the information must be comprehensive,” Noveck wrote. “If transparency serves the goal of enabling companies to build information-related businesses that incorporate on-time data, then timeliness is of the essence.”

White House officials want the public to participate in debating the issues related to transparency. Comments can be shared via the Office of Science and Technology Policy blog.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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