Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Open government’ Category

Brookings paper discusses openness lecture

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 10.07.34 AMA brief just published by the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management discusses my lecture to the Accountability Network’s conference in Mexico City in October.  “Roberts rightly sounds an alarm about recent claims that transparency is a cause of declining democracies and government dysfunction,” write Gary Bass, Danielle Brian and Norman Eisen.  Read the brief.

2014 Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award

Grace-PepinI’m honored to receive the 2014 Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award.  Read the news release from the Office of Canada’s Information Commissioner.  The Grace-Pépin Access to Information Award is presented annually to an individual or organization in recognition of outstanding dedication towards advancing the principles of access to information across Canada. It was named in recognition of the contributions of John Grace, former Information Commissioner of Canada, and Marcel Pépin, President and founder of the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec.  Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada,  presented the award on October 30 during the Annual Access to Information and Privacy Law Symposium organized by the Canadian Bar Association.  Read announcement in French.

Keynote address at Accountability Network seminar, October 21

IMG_7438I delivered a keynote address at the Accountability Network’s international seminar on the design of public policies for accountability and corruption control in Mexico City on October 21, 2014. The working text for my address can be downloaded from SSRN.  The full text has also been published by  Feedback is appreciated.  Here is an October 17 article in Processo magazine about the conference.

Winnipeg Free Press: The attack on openness

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 6.21.14 AMI”ve published an oped in the Winnipeg Free Press on the pushback against governmental openness.  “Six years have passed since the financial collapse of 2008. We liberated global financial markets to rule themselves, and they let us down. Now we are witnessing one of the perverse results of this collapse: a boom in complaints about the weaknesses of democracy, and the dangers of too much governmental openness.”  Read the oped in the Winnipeg Free Press.  The oped has also been republished by

I’ll be giving a lecture on government openess next week in Mexico City, at the Accountability Network’s international seminar on accountability and corruption control.  The working text for my address can be downloaded from SSRN.

Fourth Global Conference on Transparency Research

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.13.10 AMI’m pleased to be serving on the Advisory Committee for the Fourth Global Conference on Transparency Research to be held at the Universita della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland, June 4-6, 2015.  Details here.

Wilson Quarterly revamps article on WikiLeaks

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 10.18.09 AMWilson Quarterly has done a very nice redesign of my 2011 article, “The WikiLeaks Illusion.”  Read the article.

ABA panel on national security surveillance after Snowden

I participated on a panel on “national security surveillance after Snowden” at the ABA annual meeting in Boston on June 8.  The panel was organized by the ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security.  Learn more about the panel.  Here is an ABA write-up of the session.  I drew mainly on the background notes for my talks on transparency in New Zealand and Australia in May.

Why it’s time to rethink the problem of secrecy

These notes were prepared for forthcoming talks at the Australia-New Zealand School of Government in Wellington on May 16 and Melbourne on May 21; at the University of Tasmania Law School on May 23; and at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore on May 27.

We all recognize that excessive secrecy is a threat to democracy. But technological changes of recent years have fundamentally changed the nature of the “secrecy problem.”   Today, we need a new way of thinking about secrecy that recognizes the advent of systems of public surveillance and control that span the public and private sector; that are supported by durable alliances of politicians, bureaucrats and politicians; and whose design and operation are practically unintelligible to most citizens. Read more

WikiLeaks article has most-read status for two years

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 9.53.59 AMWikiLeaks: The Illusion of Transparency, originally published in March 2012, has now completed two years on the “most-read articles” list for International Review of Administrative SciencesRead the article.

An FOIA request, answered ten years later

Back around the turn of the millennium, I was doing a lot of writing on freedom of information laws and other topics relating to governmental openness.  Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 6.24.47 PMAbout 2001, I learned that NATO was overhauling its fifty-year-old policy on the handling of information shared among NATO member countries.  The work was being handled by a body called the Ad Hoc Working Group for the Fundamental Review of NATO Security Policy (AHWG-FRNSP). Read more