What other questions would you like to see answered by the Biden administration and their positions regarding open government?
Thanks to work of Governing.Digital, we have an initial set of 25 questions included in a Letter to the White House.
The core questions from the Letter:
White House transparency
- Will you bring back whitehouse.gov/open, with a blog, links to national actions plans, Challenge.gov, open data sets, petitions, and more? (Many /open pages across the US government still link to it, as you can see at FCC.gov/open, but it’s a 404.)
- When and how will this White House begin posting visitor logs again? Will you post them as open data at open.whitehouse.gov, as before? Will you post lists of the people entering the White House virtually for meetings with officials on Zoom, Meet, Teams, & other platforms, including agendas?
- Will the administration post all executive branch ethics waivers, authorizations, approvals, certifications, pledges, and other legally operative ethics documents (excluding individual advice) in a centralized database on the Office of Government Ethics’ website, and redirect Ethics.gov to it?
- Will the White House support bills that codify visitor log disclosure online for the administration in Congress? What about for federal agencies?
- Will you post press pool reports and daily guidance that goes to the press on WhiteHouse.gov for public consumption, including schedules?
- Accessibility was part of WhiteHouse.gov at launch. Will the White House annotate all images on social media and always link to plaintext versions of statements, orders, or other official documents from its updates on Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms?
- Will you revisit a rulemaking on how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to websites and social media run by state and local governments, or by public accommodations?
- Will you bring back and build upon White House e-petitions, a flagship commitment to the Open Government Partnership initiated by President Obama?
- Will you and/or other officials host a weekly online Q&A with the public on social media using synchronous video platforms like YouTube, Facebook Live, Periscope, Meet, Teams, or Zoom? Will you choose platforms that allow Americans to vote up the questions they’d like to have answered, as President Obama once did with Google Moderator and YouTube, or Reddit – and commit to answer the most popular questions? Would you consider adding a public chair in press briefings?
- Will the White House host another National Day of Civic Hacking? What about an annual science fair?
United States government transparency
- Who will lead the open government portfolio for the Biden administration? Will there be a White House ethics, transparency, or accountability “czar” in the Office of Management and Budget or the Cabinet? Will a senior White House official have open government as their primary portfolio?
- Will the Biden administration restart agency open government action plans again, as mandated under the Open Government Directive, and refresh agency.gov/open pages?
- Will the monthly interagency open government meetings start up again? Will the White House restore the public Google Group for discussion?
- How will this administration approach using technology for transparency, accountability, and ethics to rebuild public trust in government and public health information?
- Who will be the fifth U.S. Chief Technology Officer and the next U.S. Chief Information Officer? Will there be a U.S. Chief Data Officer or Chief Data Scientist again?
- In January 2009, President Obama issued a memorandum on transparency on Day 1. Can we expect a new government transparency memorandum, especially on the Freedom of Information, in the near future? Will there be a memorandum on proactive disclosure? Will there be a refreshed executive order on open government?
- How will President Biden, the office of the U.S. Attorney General, and the Office of Information Policy harmonize the Open Government Data Act with FOIA administration and proactive disclosure?
- How will the Biden administration build upon the federal open source software policy and Code.gov?
- How will the Biden approach algorithmic transparency, accountability, and auditability for federal digital services to address potential bias or inequities in service delivery or outcomes?
- Will the United States publish an inventory of public sector algorithms used by federal agencies to make public policy decisions? Will it publish the source code of these algorithms? Will it audit public sector algorithms for biases, and publish impact statements regarding existing or new algorithms before they are deployed?
- Will the administration support a federal shield law for acts of journalism?
- Will the Biden administration commit to never prosecute journalists using the Espionage Act?
- Will the Biden administration fill all of the open inspectors general positions at agencies by the end of 2021? How will it work to ensure they are free from political control?
- How will the Biden administration approach reclaiming American leadership in open government and democracy globally?
- What specific steps will the Biden administration take to support and defend whistleblowers and whistleblowing?
Governing.Digital is a clearinghouse for trustworthy information and analysis about digital governance for governments, technology companies, nonprofits, journalists, and the public. Our mission is to embed democratic values into the digital governance policies and statutes of nation states and the private corporations that operate the public squares of the 21st century. Read the full letter on their web site.