Despite the existence of sophisticated public information mechanisms, ready access to government data remains elusive in certain circumstances, and several trends are exerting pressure on the nation’s open-government infrastructure. Such trends include the increased use of security claims as a basis for withholding previously public data, increasing agency non-compliance with statutory mandates, recalcitrance on the part of private contractors who hold government data subject to disclosure under public records laws, and a reduction in funding for open government compliance.
An examination of contemporary case studies demonstrates the impact of these trends on government data architectures. An analysis of specific responses to the trends at work in the case studies – ranging from statutory adjustments to court rulings – provides insights into how the nation’s open government architecture may be buttressed or reinvigorated to face current challenges. Specific tools for acquiring government data in the face of agency non-compliance are identified and discussed within the context of current trends.
KEY WORDS: FOIA, freedom of information, government data, open government, accessing data