Leading Civil Society Organisations Call for Government Transparency on Mass Surveillance
Madrid/London, 19 December 2013 - Access Info Europe, over 110 civil society organisations across the world, together with individual leaders and thinkers including Aruna Roy and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, have expressed concern that secret mass surveillance and the persecution of whistleblowers contradict the ideals of “open government”.
The statement has been sent just as a White House Review Panel recommended that the US National Security Agency should be stripped of its power to collect telephone records in bulk.
The groups are calling on Open Government Partnership (OGP) member governments to include specific commitments in their OGP Action Plans to overhaul privacy laws, protect whistleblowers, and increase transparency on surveillance mechanisms as well as the export of surveillance technology.
Standards: Lobbying Transparency via Right to Information Laws
Madrid, 12 December 2013 - Access Info Europe today published a set of recommendations on the information which governments should make available to ensure that there is full transparency around lobbying.
“It is not sufficient to place the burden on lobbyists to publish information: public bodies have an obligation to be transparent about their relations with interest groups,” said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.
In Context of Crisis and Corruption, a Transparency Law with No Heart
Helen Darbishire, Executive Director, Access Info Europe explains why the new Transparency and Access to Information Law in Spain is particularly weak, and also maps out the political context in which the law was adopted, seeking to explain why the Spanish Government opted for an instrument which will not empower citizens to obtain the information they need for participation and to hold power to account.
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Madrid, 28 November 2013 — The Spanish Government has missed an historic opportunity to adopt an access to information law in line with international standards, instead adopting a law that will have minimal positive impact on open government and do little to change a bureaucratic culture of secrecy in which over 50% of requests from the public go unanswered.
Spanish Transparency Law approved by Senate without significant changes
The law will be adopted on 28 November 2013 but will enter into force only after one year at the national level and two years at the regional level
Madrid, 26 November 2013 – The Spanish Law on Transparency, Access to Information and Good Governance was approved by the Senate last Wednesday with no improvements to the right of access to information, despite the rejection of the text from the majority of parliamentary groups. The following political groups and parties voted against the law: ERC, AMAIUR, IU, ENTESA PROGRES PER CATALUNYA y PSOE.
“The ruling Partido Popular has ignored civil society during the entire process of adopting the transparency law, and has proposed a law that violates minimum international standards”, commented Victoria Anderica Caffarena, Campaigner and Legal Researcher at Access Info Europe.