Label Cloud

vrijdag 6 februari 2009

Obama's transparancy

Everybody is saying nowadays how great the new US president, Barack Obama, is. So, I know that this post seems a bit "jump on the bandwagon", but still you gotta hand it to him. After 8 years of hearing that monkey mangling the English language on the news, it's refreshing to see someone who's got a clue as to what is going on in the world and is tech-savvy.

Obama has made a stance on how the US will evolve again to a more open and transparent form of government after the extreme secrecy of the previous administration. And at first sight he seems to mean it. Since his inauguration he has made some interesting changes that don't make it to the big media. On of his more important decisions was to revoke Bush EO 13233. The National Coalition for History noted that "The President today signed two Executive Orders and three Presidential Memoranda. These five documents represent a bold first step to fulfill his campaign promises to make government more responsible and accountable, to launch sweeping ethics reform, and to begin a new era of transparent and open government. . . . Finally, the Executive Order on Presidential Records brings those principles to presidential records by giving the American people greater access to these historic documents. This order ends the practice of having others besides the President assert executive privilege for records after an administration ends. Now, only the President will have that power, limiting its potential for abuse. And the order also requires the Attorney General and the White House Counsel to review claims of executive privilege about covered records to make sure those claims are fully warranted by the Constitution." Archives Next notes that he also signed the Presidential Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government and the Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act, in which he "instructs all members of his administration to operate under principles of openness, transparency and of engaging citizens with their government. To implement these principles and make them concrete, the Memorandum on Transparency instructs three senior officials to produce an Open Government Directive within 120 days directing specific actions to implement the principles in the Memorandum. And the Memorandum on FOIA instructs the Attorney General to in that same time period issue new guidelines to the government implementing those same principles of openness and transparency in the FOIA context."

Another small change to note, that is indicative of the new mentality, was blogged about by Jason Kottke. He noticed that the robots.txt file on the sit has been changed. This file tells search engine crawlers which content is OK to index, and is therefore searchable. The old text file contained almost 2400 lines. This is the new one: "User-agent: *Disallow: /includes/". Or put differently, everything we put online is free for all to see (including the Presidential blog!).

Enough Obama loving for now. Let's just hope he keeps his other promises as well.

Geen opmerkingen: