Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: E-Records

Public advocacy groups sue White House over deletion and destruction of emails and tweets

CREW and National Security Archive news release: “President Trump and the Executive Office of the President appear to be violating the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and the Constitution’s requirement that the president “take care” that the laws be faithfully executed through the White House’s use of confidential messaging applications and other problematic practices including its destruction of the president’s tweets, according to a lawsuit filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the National Security Archive (NSA). Under the PRA, the president and his office are legally required to maintain these records for eventual public access. President Trump’s own comments have added an additional question about whether he is creating and maintaining secret recordings in the Oval Office, the existence of which his spokespeople continue to refuse to confirm or deny. “The American people not only deserve to know how their government is making important decisions, it’s the law,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “By deleting these records, the White House is destroying essential historical records.” The PRA ensures the preservation and public availability of presidential and vice presidential records once the administration leaves office. Numerous news agencies report that officials in the Trump White House are using applications such as Signal and Confide to ensure the destruction of sensitive email messages in violation of the PRA. “Thanks to Congress, since 2014, government employees have been required to copy any private server e-mail messages about government business to official systems within 20 days,” said National Security Archive director Tom Blanton. “Reports that Trump administration officials are disregarding this requirement – either by not following private e-mail protocol or by using encrypted messaging apps that prevent any kind of preservation – raise serious concerns that presidential records are at risk.” The lawsuit also challenges the White House’s use of executive orders to remove decision-making on key issues from agencies, which would be subject to transparency requirements and an open process, and instead inappropriately cloak the process in secrecy. CREW and NSA are also suing for the release of the White House visitor logs, which the Trump Administration stopped making public.”

WH Historical Assoc. Leverages Amazon Web Services to Expand Digitization of Historical Assets

News release: “The White House Historical Association [a private, non-profit organization founded in 1961 by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy]…announced [on June 21, 2017] a new innovative and strategic use of Amazon Web Services (AWS), expanding the Association’s digital archive and making educational materials more accessible to the public through the power of the AWS Cloud. … Continue Reading

Free tool allows users to locate and analyze curated public datasets from around the world

Caroline Scott’s article – “Data released by official agencies and government bodies provides transparency and insight, and can often highlight trends or anomalies that are in the public interest. However, some of these datasets are often difficult to access, while in other instances it is not clear whether they even exist, making it harder for… Continue Reading

Unisys Security Index™ U.S.

“The Unisys Security Index measures concerns of consumers on issues related to national, personal, financial and internet security around the world. In the U.S., the greatest increase in concern since 2014 was in the area of internet security: 51%. Learn more about concerns in the other areas.” Continue Reading

Agency scorecard on IT reform registers uniform decline

Nextgov: “For the first time since Congress began composing biannual scorecards ranking agency progress adhering to the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act in 2015, agency grades have dropped. Released prior to [the June 13, 2017] 2 p.m. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, 15 agencies held steady, four agencies improved and five fared… Continue Reading

Flow of information on hacking of US election escalates

Bloomberg: “Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported. In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers… Continue Reading

Rep. Quigley Introduces COVFEFE Act to preserve Trump Tweets

News release: Legislation Expands Presidential Records Act Preservation to Include Social Media “Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement or “COVFEFE” Act. This bill codifies vital guidance from the National Archives by amending the Presidential Records Act to include… Continue Reading

National Archives Announces New Model for Preservation and Accessibility of Presidential Records

“The National Archives and Records Administration announced today a new model for the preservation and accessibility of Presidential records.  This follows an Obama Foundation announcement of its commitment to fund the digitization of all of the unclassified Presidential records created during the administration of President Barack Obama.  Instead of constructing a building to house the… Continue Reading

Presidential Executive Order on Establishment of American Technology Council

Presidential Executive Order on the Establishment of the American Technology Council, Executive Order, May 1, 2017 “Purpose.  To promote the policy set forth in section 1 of this order, this order establishes the American Technology Council (ATC). …Sec. 6. ATC Functions. (a) The principal functions of the ATC shall be to: (i) coordinate the vision, strategy,… Continue Reading

DOJ defends USDA take-down of massive animal abuse database

Follow up to previous postings – Animal welfare information wiped from USDA website and Some animal welfare data removed from USDA site is restored – via Josh Gerstein – Politico – “The Justice Department is mounting a legal defense of one of the most-publicized counter-transparency moves of the new Trump administration: the Agriculture Department’s decision… Continue Reading

Former Microsoft CEO Ballmer Launches USAFacts – vast searchable database of govdocs

Wired: “Government data is available, but it’s not exactly accessible. A new project from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Seattle design studio Artefact aims to change that. Called USAFacts, it’s an ambitious, $10 million effort to present government data in a way that’s open, non-partisan, and stupidly easy to understand. The website, launching today,… Continue Reading

NYT – Robert Taylor, Innovator Who Shaped Modern Computing, Dies at 85

The Internet had many progenitors – not one. Thanks to the New York Time for shining light on the multifaceted work of one man whose consistent creative genius moved us forward in ways most do not know:  “Like many inventions, the internet was the work of countless hands. But perhaps no one deserves more credit… Continue Reading