Difference between revisions of "Open government"

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*[[WikiFOIA by State]]
*[[WikiFOIA by State]]
*[[Freedom of Information Act]]
*[[Transparency Checklist]]
*[[Transparency Checklist]]
*[[Spending transparency in your state]]
*[[Spending transparency in your state]]

Revision as of 07:39, 1 April 2014

Open government is the political doctrine which holds that the business of government and state administration should be opened at all levels to effective public scrutiny and oversight. In its broadest construction it opposes reason of state and national security considerations, which have tended to legitimize extensive state secrecy. The origins of open government arguments can be dated to the time of the European Enlightenment to debates about the proper construction of a then nascent civil society.

Among recent developments is the theory of open source governance which advocates the application of the philosophies of the free software movement to democratic principles to enable interested citizens to get more directly involved in the legislative process. Government transparency has proven in case studies to lead to more accountability, check against mismanagement and corruption, boost public confidence, and create informed participation of citizens.[1]

Obama administration

On his first day in Office, President Obama signed the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, ushering in a new era of open and accountable government meant to bridge the gap between the American people and their government:

  • The Administration is reducing the influence of special interests by writing new ethics rules that prevent lobbyists from coming to work in government or sitting on its advisory boards.
  • The Administration is tracking how government uses the money with which the people have entrusted it with easy-to-understand websites like recovery.gov USASpending.gov, and IT.usaspending.gov.
  • The Administration is empowering the public – through greater openness and new technologies – to influence the decisions that affect their lives.

On December 8, 2009, the White House issued an unprecedented Open Government Directive requiring federal agencies to take immediate, specific steps to achieve key milestones in transparency, participation, and collaboration.

However, in 2013 the Obama administration has come under fire over NSA wire tapping and the administration's lack of transparency.[2]


Open government is widely seen as a key hallmark of contemporary democratic practice and is often linked to the passing of freedom of information legislation. The United States passed its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 1966.

Impediments to an open government

Even given the passing of Freedom of Information Act the Government looks for way to restrict or avoid the Freedom of Information Act or Open Meetings Laws. Impediments include:[3]

  • Discretion without accountability
  • Excessive Rules
  • Charging an excessive amount for information
  • Lack of timely, publicized information
  • Lack of resources to publish information
  • Information not accessible to the disadvantaged
  • Lack of a service culture in government

See also

Ballotpedia:Index of Terms

External links

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