Google and Twitter released information on the requests they received from law enforcement officials in the second half of 2012, with both companies facing more such demands.
Several dozen rights groups have issued an open letter to Microsoft, asking the company to disclose how Skype user data is handled.
“Government surveillance is on the rise,” Google proclaimed in a blog post pointing to its latest semiannual Transparency Report on the efforts of world governments to compel the company to remove content or hand over individual information.
Federal CIO Vivek Kundra spoke at Wired magazine’s Disruptive By Design business conference today, demonstrating data.gov, a new online hub for data from government agencies. Although Kundra (left) conceded that data.gov has to be careful of the information it publishes — in order to avoid violating citizens’ privacy or throwing off the financial markets with faulty info — he said he hoped to facilitate transparency of government agencies.
“The default setting of the U.S. government should be open,” Kundra said, adding that he hopes to publish data from government agencies across the board in order to allow the American people to manipulate and use it. In fact, Kundra said his office is now accelerating the pace that they are publishing information. There will be 100,000 feeds available by the end of the week, he said.
But what sort of information is available on data.gov? Kundra said the information will be everything from flight delay data, as well as reasons for flight delays, to Internal Revenue Service data or even updates about the spread of the H1N1 flu.
Of course, this might sound good to us, but not everyone is happy by the great strides taken by Kundra and his team. Government agencies that are used to requesting millions of dollars in funding for technology updates or “people who want to maintain the status quo” will be thrown by this new transparent approach to information distribution. But Kundra doesn’t mind the naysayers.
“The federal government does not have a monopoly on the best ideas,” Kundra said. And creating transparency and openness through Web sites like data.gov will allow us “to return to real democracy as ‘We the people,’” he added.