Federal Communications Commission

Author Archive

Sunshine Week (And not just with the weather)

March 19th, 2010 by Vishal Doshi - Government Performance Analyst, National Broadband Task Force

[By Vishal Doshi and Kevin Bennett]
It’s Sunshine Week and we’re not just talking about the beautiful weather in Washington, DC (70 degrees and sunny).
Sunshine Week, which is wrapping up, is an initiative spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors to educate the public about the importance of open government. We should point out that not only did we release the National Broadband Plan during Sunshine Week, we released it a day ahead of schedule, on James Madison’s Birthday, which is also National Freedom of Information Day. Coincidence? I think not.
In that spirit, we’d like to highlight a few of the National Broadband Plan’s recommendations that promote the creation of a more open and transparent government. These recommendations all come from the Civic Engagement Chapter (Chapter 15). I hope that they feel as good as the 70 degree weather, also brought to you by the broadband team at the FCC.
The primary legal documents of the federal government should be free and accessible to the public on digital platforms.  For Executive Branch agencies, this means publishing all executive orders and other public documents on the Internet and in easily accessible, machine-readable format. The Executive Branch has taken important steps towards this goal with State and local governments are already taking steps to implement their own versions of But more can be done. Even contains only a small amount of the government’s data. For the Legislative Branch, this means that Congress should publish all votes, as well as proposed and enacted legislation, in a timely manner, online and in a machine-readable and otherwise accessible format. Finally, all federal judicial decisions should be accessible for free and made publicly available to the people of the United States.
The federal government should create and fund to publish its digital video archival materials and facilitate the creation of a federated national digital archive to house public interest digital content. The federal government, as well as public and commercial media, sits on a treasure in the form of hours of video content from government video footage to decades of nightly news broadcasts. The federal government can play a critical role in unlocking this tremendous content for the American people. would be a great start. By releasing much of its video content into a national digital archive, the government can create an important tool for students, teachers, parents and all citizens. C-SPAN just announced that it would be putting its video library, covering more than 23 years of history and American life, providing more than 160,000 hours of footage online for free. (See it here.) We applaud this important step and hope that this is the first of many important steps towards providing public interest video content online for the American people.
All responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by Executive Branch and independent agencies should be made available online at www.[agency].gov/foiaFOIA is one of the single most important government transparency tools that exists, and it can be expanded to increase transparency even more over the Web.
The Executive Branch should establish as a mechanism that allows citizens to request their personal data held by government agencies. The federal government holds data related to many citizens and the Privacy Act contains provisions for giving these individuals access to their personal data. The federal government should enable citizens to access to this data online thought
For more about the sunshine recommendations, check out Chapter 15 of the National Broadband Plan. Thank you, and enjoy the sunshine.

Data Portability

November 23rd, 2009 by Vishal Doshi - Government Performance Analyst, National Broadband Task Force

No, we’re not talking about an android in a transporter. We’re talking about the data that pass through government systems, and the ways in which the public can make use of the data. As access to and adoption of broadband increases, the capacity for the flow of data between government and the public increases, enabling the provision of new services online. With that in mind, we’ve issued a Public Notice seeking your comments, data and analysis regarding data transparency, cloud computing, and online identity.

Data transparency: There have been significant efforts by governments and nonprofits across the country and around the world to publish government data in a central repository. These include the publication of data feeds and competitions encouraging innovative and novel uses of government data. Share your success stories and frustrations. What would you like to see government continue doing or do differently regarding data transparency?
Cloud computing: Cloud computing is often misunderstood. That is why we want to know more about cloud computing as a model for the provisioning of technology. The federal government has taken steps to adopt this model (see or this article about the CIA’s internal cloud). We want to understand the consequences of agencies moving their systems to the cloud, with a specific focus on potential costs and benefits. Please share your views. What are the costs and benefits of moving to the cloud?
Online identity: In order to provide a number of the new services enabled by increased broadband access and adoption, governments at all levels will need ways to verify people’s identities online to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and increase the integrity of government services. The federal government has begun exploring the use of Open ID technologies to provision services that require a low assurance level (pdf) – or “little or no confidence in the asserted identity’s validity.” What are the potential costs and benefits of a national strategy on this topic?
For more details, background and context on these issues, please see the Public Notice. You can respond directly to this blog or file comments in our Electronic Filing Comment System, using either ECFS Express or our standard submission page if you need to attach a file. Please title comments and reply comments responsive to this Notice as “Comments (or Reply Comments) – NBP Public Notice # 21.”


Capture The Phone Numbers Using Your Camera Phone

If you have a camera and a 2D matrix code reader on your mobile phone, you can capture the FCC Phone numbers right to your phone by following these three easy steps:
Step 1: Take a photograph of one of the codes below using the camera on your mobile phone.
Step 2: Use your phone's Datamatrix or QR Code reader to decode the information on the photograph. Please note, these code readers are device specific and are available to download on the internet.
Step 3: Store the decoded address information to your phone's address book and use it with your Maps or GPS application.

Datamatrix and QR FCC Phones