White house announces 20 agency open government initiatives

Each of the 20 cabinet departments has unveiled a new open government initiative in response to the directive issued Tuesday by the Obama administration, the White House reports.

“This work represents only the beginning of an ongoing commitment across the Administration to create a culture of openness in government,” the White House stated in its release.

The White House categorized the new open government initiatives according to how they will increase transparency efforts. The Department of Justice, for instance, will begin providing its annual Freedom of Information Act report in a machine-readable format that will allow the public to track and monitor detailed statistics on Freedom Of Information Act requests.

Other agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the General Services Administration and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will make data available to the public for free download for the first time.

Still other agencies will disclose previously unreleased records, though not necessarily online. The Department of State plans to release new data about the conflict in Darfur from 2003 to 2009, while the Department of Agriculture will disclose the nutrition information of more than 1,000 frequently consumed foods.

Not all of the open government initiatives touted by the White House are entirely new however, according to the Huffington Post. The online media outlet reported yesterday that the open government effort announced by the Treasury department includes what it claimed is a “new report” on bank trading and derivatives that has actually been available since 1995.

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