On December 8, Aneesh Chopra and Vivek Kundra announced the launch of the Open Government Directive, designed to increase government transparency and better engage the public. A week since the announcement, many commentators are cautiously optimistic about the new program.
A number of commentators have pointed out that the plan is certainly an improvement on past practices. The effort to be clearer regarding FOIA handling will be a welcome change. Some concern however has been raised concerning whether or not the idea of greater transparency will actually be followed by action. They have pointed out that in 2007, George Bush also issued a statement regarding greater openness under FOIA, and a number of agencies failed to follow through with the concept.
Nevertheless, the new directive appears promising. As part of the new directive, the Justice Department has issued its annual FOIA report in a more accessible format, to allow scholars, critics and citizens to better access and digest the information.
Certainly, the effectiveness of the directive will be subject to the willingness and ability of various government agencies to implement it.