The White House just released its second Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. Though a few months late, the plan is meaty, combining both improvements to existing open government initiatives with some new commitments. Alex Howard has a nice summary post here.
Here are the two things I find most interesting at first blush:
Surveillance shows up in the new action plan. This is big news in my mind. Yes, the commitments to greater disclosure around surveillance activities are largely retread and don’t go nearly far enough. But for these issues to have made their way into a US National Action Plan is an important first step towards broadening the open government agenda to include “new frontiers” or “thorny” issues. That’s a big deal and a win.
The administration remains silent on public registries of beneficial owners of companies. Sigh. David Cameron and the UK government made a pioneering commitment to public registries of who really owns UK companies at the OGP summit in London. The US is now in the awkward position of having to defend keeping this valuable data private to only government regulators and investigators. That’s an increasingly thin reed. There’s certainly opposition to public registries in Congress, but the White House could have at least committed to publicly pushing for public registries. Instead, mum’s the word.