Submitted by jrjacobs on Fri, 2013-11-15 09:48.
In Mother Jones, Will Potter profiles Ryan Shapiro, a punk rocker-turned-PhD student who wanted to study how the FBI monitors animal-rights activists. Through trial and error, and a lot of digging, he devised a perfectly legal, highly effective strategy to unearth sensitive documents from the bureau's 'byzantine' filing system. So now the FBI is petitioning the United States District Court in Washington, DC, to prevent the release of 350,000 pages of documents he's after. If the court buys the FBI's argument here, it could make it harder for scholars and journalists to keep tabs on federal agencies.
Meet the Punk Rocker Who Can Liberate Your FBI File. By Will Potter. Mother Jones. Wed Nov. 13, 2013
According to the Justice Department, this tattooed activist-turned-academic is the FBI's "most prolific" Freedom of Information Act requester—filing, during one period in 2011, upward of two documents requests a day. In the course of his doctoral work, which examines how the FBI monitors and investigates protesters, Shapiro has developed a novel, legal, and highly effective approach to mining the agency's records. Which is why the government is petitioning the United States District Court in Washington, DC, to prevent the release of 350,000 pages of documents he's after.
Submitted by jrjacobs on Thu, 2013-11-14 09:26.
The Guardian wrote yesterday, "Conservative party deletes archive of speeches from internet." The Conservative Party has attempted to delete from their website -- as well as from the Internet Archive! -- all their speeches and press releases online from the past 10 years, including one in which David Cameron promises to use the Internet to make politicians 'more accountable'.
This is troubling news, but something as old as politicians -- see for example ALA's long-running serial "Less access to less information by and about the US government" which ran from 1981 - 1998. But it should also come as yet another warning to librarians and archivists of the dire need to harvest and preserve government information and store content off of .gov servers.
The party has removed the archive from its public website, erasing records of speeches and press releases from 2000 until May 2010. The effect will be to remove any speeches and articles during the Tories' modernisation period, including its commitment to spend the same as a Labour government.
The Labour MP Sheila Gilmore accused the party of a cynical stunt, adding: "It will take more than David Cameron pressing delete to make people forget about his broken promises and failure to stand up for anyone beyond a privileged few."
In a remarkable step the party has also blocked access to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, a US-based library that captures webpages for future generations, using a software robot that directs search engines not to access the pages.
Submitted by jajacobs on Thu, 2013-11-14 07:29.
NASA has announced that it is making a large collection of NASA climate and Earth science satellite data available to the public via the Amazon cloud.
- NASA Brings Earth Science 'Big Data' to the Cloud with Amazon Web Services, by Ruth Marlaire, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. RELEASE 13-307 (Nov. 12, 2013).
By using the cloud, research and application users worldwide gain access to an integrated Earth science computational and data management system they can use on their own.
The service encompasses selected NASA satellite and global change data sets -- including temperature, precipitation, and forest cover -- and data processing tools from the NASA Earth Exchange (NEX), a research platform of the NASA Advanced Supercomputer Facility at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
- NASA NEX, Amazon.
Three NASA NEX datasets are now available, including climate projections and satellite images of Earth.
More information here.
Submitted by jajacobs on Thu, 2013-11-14 07:09.
In case you missed the news this week, here is the link to NASA's glorious slideshow of photographs from Cassini, including one of earth as seen from Saturn.
Note: you can download these images...
Submitted by jrjacobs on Wed, 2013-11-13 13:39.
Great news from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts:
A project providing free online access to federal court opinions has expanded to include 64 courts. The federal Judiciary and the Government Printing Office partner through the GPO’s Federal Digital System, FDsys, to provide public access to more than 750,000 opinions, many dating back to 2004.
The Judicial Conference approved national implementation of the project in September 2012, expanding participation from the original 29 courts. FDsys currently contains opinions from 8 appellate courts, 20 district courts, and 35 bankruptcy courts.
Federal court opinions are one of the most heavily used collections on FDsys, with millions of retrievals each month. Opinions are pulled nightly from the courts’ Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) systems and sent to the GPO, where they are posted on the FDsys website. Collections on FDsys are divided into appellate, district or bankruptcy court opinions and are text-searchable across courts. FDsys also allows embedded animation and audio – an innovation previously only available with opinions posted on a court’s own website or on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER).
Submitted by jajacobs on Mon, 2013-11-11 06:42.
Congress.gov will be the sole source for texts of pending and passed legislation, committee reports, congressional floor speeches and cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office beginning Nov. 19, the Library of Congress announced on Friday.
Submitted by jrjacobs on Fri, 2013-11-08 14:51.
According to the American Assn of Law Libraries (AALL) "blawg:"
During last week’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) meeting in London, the Obama administration released a preview of its U.S. Open Government National Action Plan 2.0 (NAP). While the second NAP will not be finalized until December 2013, six new commitments to further advance the goals of transparency and accountability in the federal government were announced:
- Expand Open Data
- Modernize the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
- Increase Fiscal Transparency
- Increase Corporate Transparency
- Advance Citizen Engagement and Empowerment
- More Effectively Manage Public Resources
This is great news for open government (though it's still troubling how the administration is walking a very thin, troubling line in re to the NSA and their attacks on whistleblowers). I hope the administration and policy makers on open government will take some cues from our 2010 Letter to Deputy CTO Noveck: "Open Government Publications".
Submitted by jrjacobs on Mon, 2013-11-04 09:11.
The audiobook "Getting to Know the President" was recently released by the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI). It's available on GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys) in MP3 format, broken into several chapters. It's also available in PDF on the CIA site.
CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI) has released its first audio book, Getting to Know the President (Second Edition). The audio book takes listeners inside the history of CIA briefings to presidential candidates and presidents-elect from 1952-2004, all through the eyes of former CIA Inspector General and Director for Intelligence John Helgerson. This second edition of Getting to Know the President updates Helgerson’s 1996 book with reflections on the transition to President George W. Bush in 2000 and the briefings provided to his Democratic challengers in 2004.
The book offers a look into the interactions of political figures and intelligence professionals across 10 presidential transitions. Helgerson relies on internal documents, public memoirs and interviews with four former presidents, several former Directors of Central Intelligence and Directors of National Intelligence. The result is a highly engaging account, providing both anecdote and analysis.