White House Pledges To Expedite Freedom Of Information Act Requests

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The White House said Tuesday it will leverage technology to try to expedite Freedom of Information Act requests.

That came in the announcement of the latest open government initative. As anyone who follows the Federal Communications Commission knows, openness and transparency are the watchwords/catch phrases of government agencies under the Obama administration, which pledged to make government information more accessible.

That is one of the reasons the administration has been pushing for greater broadband access. The more government information is shared online, the larger a digital driver lack of broadband access becomes.

The new Open Government Partnership is described as "a new multilateral initiative that supports national [and international] efforts to promote transparency, fight corruption, strengthen accountability, and empower citizens."

Participating countries (38 are signed on so far) pledged to:

* Promote openness, because more information about governmental activities should be timely and freely available to people;
* Engage citizens in decision-making, because this makes government more innovative and responsive;
* Implement the highest standards of professional integrity, because those in power must serve the people and not themselves; and
* Increase access to new technologies because of their unprecedented potential to help people realize their aspirations for access to information and a more powerful voice in how they are governed.

For its part, the U.S. also pledged to "expand the use of technology to achieve greater efficiencies in FOIA administration, including utilization of technology to assist in searching for and processing records."

It also announced an online platform, ExpertNet, that will allow the public to "consult" with public officials and vice versa.

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