Open Source for America Wants To Give The Federal Government An Openness Report Card

With the 6 month anniversary of President Obama's directive for openness in government, the Open Source for America Organization wants to give the government a report card on openness

Open Source for America, an organization sponsored and supported by some of the biggest names in the FOSS world has launched a study to measure openness in government. With today being the 6 month anniversary of President Obama's "Openness in Government" directive, which directs "executive departments and agencies to take specific actions to implement principles of transparency, participation and collaboration."

The Open Source for America group thinks that it is time for an independent review of how the government is doing. 

“Open Source for America applauds and supports the Administration's efforts to engage citizens in a spirit of transparency, participation and collaboration,” stated Tom Rabon, executive vice president, Corporate Affairs at Red Hat, Inc. and a member of the OSFA steering committee. “When the President directs such a massive undertaking, agencies benefit from outside review and we're happy to help them measure their progress toward openness objectives.

The study will be conducted by experts from within OSFA. These experts will consider a number of factors relating to access and transparency identified by OSFA members and the community at large as key indicators of openness. Factors OSFA will evaluate include Freedom of Information Act processes, public access to agency documents, use of online public participation tools, and technology procurement procedures, among others. Agency representatives from the Administration's newly formed Open Government Working Group will be invited to participate in the study.”

The study will result in a report card being issued for each agency and department studied. If they turn out to be anything like the FISMA (Federal Information Security Act) report cards which are issued every year, it could leave some bureaucrats red with embarrassment.  

While no one wants to stand up and say that they are against openness and transparency in government, sometimes it just doesn't mix well.  But anytime we as citizens can get more insight into what and how our government is behaving it is a good thing.

Another example of the FOSS movement beyond open source software by applying open principles in a non-software application.  As long as the report cards don't become a publicity stunt circus it should be very helpful.

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