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AINS Blog - FOIA and Case Management

Entries in open government (8)

Thursday
Sep072017

Top 5 Tips to Convince Your Manager Why you Must Attend 

Attending October's FOIAXpress User Conference & Tech Summit will be the most educational and professional development choice you will make all year. We know that and you know that. Get your supervisor and organization on board with our proven tips to help build your case.

Plus, use this downloadable justification letter we created to save you time and effort – then visit our site to register!

  1.  Focus on the issues at hand. Explain what you plan to get out of attending and how that will benefit your work and organization. Explore the conference session schedule and make a list of the sessions that will help you address those groups. 
  2. Share and present. Offer to share handouts and present Q & A session to your colleagues to share what you learned. They will get the benefits of your attendance too.
  3. Talk up the Tech Support. Our Tech Support Team will be onsite all day for 1-on-1 facetime to provide you solutions to your challenges that you can take home.
  4. Build a networking list. Our User Conference & Tech Summit is an unmatched source for networking, bringing together FOI professionals, experts and industry peers from across the country. Make note of speakers, sponsors and AINS team members you would like to meet or learn new techniques from.
  5. Have a plan. Be ready with a plan that shows who will cover for you while you are attending the conference.   

Who Should Attend
If you’re a Chief FOIA Officer, FOIA Officer, FOIA Specialist or Senior IT Leader who uses FOIAXpress, or a FOI professional seeking industry knowledge and expert insight, don’t miss this opportunity to learn and network.

For more information and to register for the FOIAXpress User Conference, please visit the conference website: http://info.ains.com/2017-FOIAXpress-User-Conference.html 

We look forward to seeing you there!


Thursday
Oct292015

U.S. Announces New Open Government Transparency Initiatives

This week members of the Department of Justice and Federal Government are participating in the 2015 Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in Mexico City, Mexico. In addition to U.S. Government representatives, the Summit has in attendance members of civil society organizations from around the world. The OGP is an organization founded in 2011 with the goal of working domestically and globally to promote open government and transparency.

In conjunction with the event, the Department of Justice has published its 3rd United States National Action Plan which covers a 2 year period and defines commitments to advance government transparency and accountability as well as to increase participation in technological innovations. The plan intends to initiate or continue 45 transparency initiatives including:

  1. Modernizing Freedom of Information Implementation. By expanding services offered by the foia.gov website, conducting a proactive disclosure pilot for posting FOIA-released records online, and improving existing agency FOIA sites the DOJ plans to improve the FOIA process. Modernization of FOIA processes through adaptive case management can also help bring the Federal Government up to speed.
  2. Making it easier for individuals to access their own information. DOJ will assist an interagency team led by OPM, GSA, and the Department of Commerce to develop new authentication tools to protect individual privacy and ensure that personal records only go to the intended recipients. Tools like the FOIAXpress or stand-alone PAL Web Portal can make it much easier for agency FOIA departments to share and receive FOIA-related records and payments with the public. FOIAXpress tools also eliminate room for error when data is sent between agencies with differing FOIA protocols.
  3. Improving transparency of privacy safeguards. "The Administration will revise and reconstitute guidance to agencies on the collection and protection of individuals’ personally identifiable information."
  4. Enhancing transparency of Federal use of investigative technologies. "As law enforcement and homeland security have employed new technologies, such as unmanned aircraft systems, the Administration has recognized that these must be used in a manner that protects the privacy and civil liberties of the public. Agencies are encouraged to develop and make public a privacy analysis for advanced technologies."

Modernization of the FOIA process through IT improvements, new technology, and proactive FOIA protocols is the key to maintaining an open and accountable government.

Read the White House post >>

Read the DOJ post >>

Thursday
Feb192015

White House Appoints First-Ever Chief Data Scientist

The White House announced the appointment of the first U.S. Chief Data Scientist on Wednesday. The new position will be held by Dr. DJ Patil, an experienced data scientist and engineer. Patil worked to create Silicon Valley’s first data science team at the social media company LinkedIn. Patil will report to U.S. Chief Technology Officer and former Google executive Megan Smith.

Patil’s appointment as Chief Data Scientist comes in the wake of a recent White House focus on big-data and cybersecurity. In a recent address at the Cybersecurity Summit held at Stanford University, President Obama stressed the importance of cybersecurity to the U.S. defense and economy. The President also touched on subjects like the Sony Pictures hacking attack – pointing to the need for a more focused effort on data protection.

According to a White House blog post, “President Obama has prioritized bringing top technical talent like DJ into the federal government to harness the power of technology and innovation to help government better serve the American people.” In his position as Chief Data Scientist, Patil will work with the White House CTO team and work to further the Administration’s open data and data science goals.

 

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Courtney James is AINS' Marketing & Graphic Design Associate. She has experience with social media, public relations, graphic design, event management, and many other marketing topics. Courtney loves to blog about topics dealing with technology in government, social media, and case management. She holds degrees in Communication and Art from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Friday
Feb062015

FOIA Reform Take Two

FOIA activists and other government news fans might remember the narrow defeat of the Freedom of Information (FOIA) Reform Act just two months ago. Now, four lawmakers are trying to once again make some FOIA improvements. House Representatives Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) as well as Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have introduced new measures that aim to improve FOIA legislation. Many of the goals of these bills are similar to those proposed last December in the Senate.

The proposed FOIA legislation would put a 25 year limit on agencies’ ability to withhold records on privileged communications. The bill would also mandate the creation of a central, government-wide online FOIA portal where citizens, activists, and other FOIA requesters could submit requests to multiple agencies through one process.

The FOIA Reform bills proposed in 2014 garnered bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House before being shot down. Said Rep. Cummings, “This bipartisan legislation will strengthen one of our most critical open government laws by bringing greater sunlight to federal agency actions....There should be a presumption of openness in this country, and agencies should have to justify their actions when they want to withhold information from the American people." Many of his peers, including Senators Cornyn and Leahy, agree that FOIA and open government reform are critical to our nation’s future.

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Courtney James is AINS' Marketing & Graphic Design Associate. She has experience with social media, public relations, graphic design, event management, and many other marketing topics. Courtney loves to blog about topics dealing with technology in government, social media, and case management. She holds degrees in Communication and Art from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Wednesday
Jan212015

2015 State of the Union Highlights

Part of maintaining an open government is to keep up to date with important events like the Presidential State of the Union Address. If you didn’t get a chance to catch President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, we have you covered. Get the 5 minute rundown below:

College Plan – One of the Commander-in-Chief’s major proposals from the SOTU address is for cost-free community college for most students. The 10-year plan would allow any half-time student with a 2.5 GPA or higher to attend community college for free. “I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today,” said Obama.

Military Policy – POTUS called on Congress to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Obama argued that American airstrikes in Iraq in Syria were effective in stopping the Islamic State’s progress there. Said the President, “Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group.”

Tax Overhaul – Obama defended the raising of taxes on the wealthy in order to pay for new tax credits for the working poor and middle class. Said Obama, “Let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth.”

Climate Change – Obama made started his mention of global warming with the assertion that climate change naysayers should look to the world’s best scientists and the evidence they’ve presented. The President announced that the United States would be doubling the pace at which it cuts carbon pollution. He went on the state that China had committed to reducing emissions as well, inciting change throughout other nations.

Read the full transcript here

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Courtney James is AINS' Marketing & Graphic Design Associate. She has experience with social media, public relations, graphic design, event management, and many other marketing topics. Courtney loves to blog about topics dealing with technology in government, social media, and case management. She holds degrees in Communication and Art from the University of Maryland, College Park.