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In Midst of Government Secrecy, a National Plan for Openness

While the nation grapples with the recent revelations of domestic electronic surveillance, the Obama Administration is inviting ideas for more government transparency and accountability.

This month, the White House has asked for help in drafting its second National Action Plan (NAP) for the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international good governance initiative, which aims to “promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.” The U.S., as an OGP member, is required to produce a NAP each year that includes specific, measurable commitments on improving government openness. The first National Action Plan launched last year, resulting in some encouraging progress and a solid foundation from which to build.

This year, the Administration is calling the plan “NAP 2.0,” and asked for public input for the most “creative and ambitious solutions.”

The Project On Government Oversight and other civil society organizations have already proposed several model commitments for an ambitious action plan. Our aim is to steer this year’s plan toward more measurable, comprehensive commitments that will make tangible improvements to government transparency and accountability.

Among our proposals are the following:

  • Publish statistics regarding electronic surveillance.
  • Appoint qualified, experienced individuals to fill every Inspector General vacancy.
  • Post online all documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
  • End the aggressive investigation and prosecution of government employees and contractors who exercise free speech rights to disclosure government waste, fraud, abuse, threats to public health and safety, censorship of federal information, or other illegality or wrongdoing.

For more information on these recommendations and others, check out the civil society national action plan here. We hope to see these commitments in NAP 2.0 later this year.

What are your ideas? Please leave a comment on this post.