Government

IRS turns over a new leaf, opens up data

IRS opens data in government

The core task for Danny Werfel, the new acting commissioner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is to repair the agency’s tarnished reputation and achieve greater efficacy and fairness in IRS investigations. Mr. Werfel can show true leadership by restructuring how the IRS handles its tax-exempt enforcement processes.

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'Free software' questions for federal and local candidates

free and open source software in government

See the FSFE's 'free software' questions for federal and local government at the Ask your candidates campaign page.


The Free Software Foundation Europe published its free software-related election questions (in German) for this fall's elections to the German parliament, which will take place on September 22. All political parties have responded to the questions, which cover issues like users' control over their electronic devices, the release of publicly funded computer programs as Free Software, and software patents.

From the responses, it's clear that most parties now know more about Free Software than they did in the past. Below is the translation—done by FSFE volunteers—of FSFE's summary and an evaluation of the complete answers. In addition, FSFE encourages Free Software activists to use these questions as an inspiration for their own questions to candidates on federal and local level.

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In Hawaii, open data is the law

open government legislation

We're forecasting sunnier skies in Hawaii today, as Gov. Neil Abercrombie is scheduled to sign the state's first open data bill into law. The bill requires data already deemed public to be made available online and requires the state CIO to set policy and procedures that include "whenever practicable, the use of machine readable, non-proprietary technical standards for web publishing."

Sen. Glenn Wakai, Chair of Hawaii's Technology and Art Committee, co-sponsored bill HB632.

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Who could not be against lock-in for government ICT systems?

open source government ICT systems

The European Commission (EC) recently published an important report, officially a Communication: Against lock-in: building open ICT systems using standardsThe Communication introduces and explains the need for the accompanying: Guide for procurement of standards-based ICT—Elements of Good Practice, which was released at the same time.

The documents, announced in a press release on June 25, are designed to educate public administrations and encourage their use of standards-based ICT procurement, which, in the words of the communication, "will enable more interoperability, innovation and competition, lower costs (by more than 1 billion Euros per year), and improve interaction with citizens." The Commission’s activities are an effort to fulfill a key part (Action 23) of the Digital Agenda, the EC’s long-term planning strategy designed "to help digital technologies, including the internet, to deliver sustainable economic growth..."

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The FTC roadmap on patent litigation aggressors

patent litigation aggressors

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appears to be ramping up for an investigation of Patent Assertion Entity (PAE) practices.

In a noteworthy, welcome development, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez recently gave a significant policy speech outlining a roadmap for possible FTC action. Chairwoman Ramirez’s remarks are some of the most direct and specific to date from a senior US Government official regarding "harmful PAE activities," and follow on in more detail the concerns laid out by President Obama last February.

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Driving better governance with open source

open source governance and collaborative risk

"Ten years ago, open source—notably Linux—was often labelled a ‘fad’ or destined for the ‘hobbyist’ market,” said Mark Bohannon, Vice President for Corporate Affairs & Global Public Policy at Red Hat.

"Fast forward to today. Owing not only to the benefits of the technology, but also to the benefits of the collaborative innovation model, open source software has by any measure become mainstream and vital to enterprise and government IT architecture."

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On a mission to change the citizen experience

The Dave and Gunnar Show

In this episode of the Dave and Gunnar Show, I interviewed opensource.com's lead project manager, Jason Hibbets. He recently self-published a book advocating for citizen involvement in local government and shared with us how it's changing everything.

Listeners get insight into how the open source way is shaping how citizens influence change and progress in cities across the US. Jason also shares tips for self-publishing with Lulu.com, how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, steps for planning your own unconference, like CityCamp, and how he got started with Code for America.

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Get funded with OpenGov Grants

open government grants

We know how challenging fundraising can be. You start an innovative project using technology to make government more open and accessible and halfway through—you run out of money. Or maybe you know someone who is collecting municipal data and wants to make a cool app to help residents understand how local government works, but they don’t have funding.

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Congress looking to act on patent assertion entities

government and patent law

Congress is beginning to focus on the abusive use of patents by Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) with new legislative proposals.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and a wide variety of witnesses highlighted the PAE problem in hearings last winter. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy is working with Chairman Goodlatte and committed to working in a bicameral and bipartisan way to counter what they term 'patent trolling,' which "casts a pall on the system because it hinders innovation."

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Content management tools for community boards

CMS in open government

NYC Community Board offices all have filing cabinets overflowing with hundreds of paper folders containing documents related to land use in their districts—board resolutions, liquor license applications, meeting minutes, Uniform Land Use Review Procedures, sidewalk cafe applications, and more. A small fraction of these have been scanned and put online as pdfs, but they are not fully searchable.

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