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Category Archives: E-Government

Study – Barriers to Using Government Data

Bipartisan Policy Center – Barriers to Using Government Data: Extended Analysis of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking’s Survey of Federal Agencies and Offices – “Policymakers face many demands from constituents, budgetary processes, and their commitment to providing good services for the American people. This last concern is made easier when policymakers have access to reliable information to guide their decisions. But access to data and the ability to turn those data into evidence to inform decisions can be hampered by legal restrictions on access to sensitive data, institutional constraints, and the availability of resources. In 2016, Congress and the president established the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking and charged it with developing a strategy for addressing these barriers. During the commission’s fact-finding efforts, it launched a survey of agencies and units across the federal government to better understand existing barriers to data access and use. The data collected in the survey then provided initial evidence that the commission considered in making its recommendations. Extended analysis of the commission survey confirms much of what the commission concluded in its final report, validating identified legal and regulatory barriers to using data. The extended analysis also leads to new findings:

  • Federal offices perceive that their roles in evidence-building activities are in niches and largely do not perceive their data collection as for a broad range of purposes like evaluation that would require better coordination across an agency.’
  • Units within federal agencies exhibit wide variation in their capacity for data sharing and linkage.
  • Challenges to using data for evidence building are distributed across virtually every policy domain. Respondents identify federal tax information as especially difficult to access and use.
  • Despite some offices reportedly lacking resources to conduct evidence-building activities, it is still quite common for offices to conduct at least some data sharing and linking. However, agencies still indicate substantial gaps in developing metadata, sharing with third parties, conducting disclosure reviews, and engaging in disclosure avoidance protocols to protect data. Statistical agencies were by far better positioned for this work than other agencies…

Collectively these findings offer relevant insights for development of the commission’s recommended National Secure Data Service to fill identified capacity gaps as a shared service center for federal agencies. There are many activities already underway to analyze, link, and use data for evidence-building activities, in addition to other purposes. These survey results suggest that government needs to improve capacity to engage in this work, with better abilities and an organizational infrastructure and legal framework that supports securely accessing and analyzing data…”

File-Sharing Software on State Election Servers Could Expose Them to Intruders

ProPublica: A ProPublica analysis found election computer servers in Wisconsin and Kentucky could be susceptible to hacking. Wisconsin shut down its service in response to our inquiries. “As recently as Monday [October 29,2018], computer servers that powered Kentucky’s online voter registration and Wisconsin’s reporting of election results ran software that could potentially expose information to… Continue Reading

DOJ Announces Launch of New Hate Crimes Website

“The Department today released an update on hate crimes and announced the launch of a new comprehensive hate crimes website designed to provide a centralized portal for the Department’s hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other related organizations and individuals. The resources include training materials, technical assistance, videos, research… Continue Reading

GPO issues digital release of statue compilations

“U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) releases an initial set of 40 Statute Compilations as a pilot on govinfo, GPO’s website that offers public access to Federal Government information. These publications are compilations of public laws that either do not appear in the U.S. Code or that have been classified to a title of the U.S.… Continue Reading

New govinfo API

October 22, 2018 – A tour of the new govinfo API – Jump to: Introduction | Definitions | Example: Federal Register | Example: Congressional Record | Wrapping Up Highlights “Try the govinfo API for easier access to documents and metadata from all three branches of the Federal Government. Use the API to request lists of… Continue Reading

Eliminating Tech Tribalism Surveying IT Collaboration in State and Local Government

Route Fifty Report: “With government technology increasingly a team sport, Route Fifty partnered with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers to see how government leaders perceive collaborating across state and local agencies and jurisdictions. Our hope is by getting a pulse on the perceived opportunities for—and barriers to—partnerships, government leaders at all levels… Continue Reading

Department of Interior’s proposal to destroy records may be of interest

“As I mentioned a while back, I’ve started a new project to bring much-needed transparency to the process whereby agencies get permission to destroy their records at fixed intervals (chosen by the agencies and okayed by the National Archives). I’m obtaining and posting every such request, which have never appeared online before. This project is… Continue Reading

A rare peek inside the FBI’s internal video-streaming service

Quartz: “Internal FBI documents released last week provide an intriguing peek at its private intranet for agents and other personnel. The system—called BU|NET, an apparent portmanteau of “bureau” and “network”—includes FBI.tv, a homegrown YouTube channel of sorts that includes live commercial programming (Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and the Department of Justice’s in-house legal training network,… Continue Reading

SEC Launches New Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology

“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the launch of the agency’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub). The FinHub will serve as a resource for public engagement on the SEC’s FinTech-related issues and initiatives, such as distributed ledger technology (including digital assets), automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing, and artificial intelligence/machine learning. The FinHub… Continue Reading

FTC is Making Consumer Complaint Data More Accessible

“The Federal Trade Commission hears from millions of consumers each year about fraud, identity theft, and other problems, allowing us to warn other consumers about scams they should watch out for, while also providing the agency with an important source of information to support our enforcement actions. Starting today, the FTC will be making this… Continue Reading

What’s new to Congress.gov in October?

In Custodia Legis: “For this release the Congress.gov Enhancements include: Enhancement – Advanced Legislation Search – Committee selection pages list all names When you choose all Congresses on the Advanced Legislation Search, the committee selection pages show committee name changes. Enhancement – Search Results Navigation – Page through all amendments for a specific bill From the Amendments tab… Continue Reading

VA.gov to relaunch as front door to benefits, services

FCW.com: “Amid a barrage of daily headlines about turnover, disarray and mismanagement, the Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to reinvent itself as an agile agency focused on customer service. The effort is paying off – without much in the way of publicity, a unified VA services website at Vets.gov has attracted 40,000 daily users… Continue Reading