Obama issues open government memos

On his first day in office, Barack Obama issued two memos on the subject of a transparency in US government, calling for greater openness of information across all federal agencies. The tone suggests that the new president intends this to be the new mandate that all governmental bodies should follow as standard procedure from now on. The president has not yet picked a US Chief Technology Officer (the appointment would be the first for the US as a whole), but writes that the CTO will have as a primary duty the creation of an "Open Government Directive" that official agencies can follow.

"In the face of doubt, openness prevails," the president wrote in one of the memos. "The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public."

The BBC noted another detail of the WhiteHouse.gov website that went live at noon on Tuesday the 20th:

The robots.txt file the Bush administration set up for Whitehouse.gov ran to almost 2377 lines and thereby stopped search engines logging a lot of the data found on the site.

On the first day of the Barack administration the robots.txt file shrunk to two lines allowing, for the moment, search sites to index everything it contains.

This new fellow in the Oval Office doesn't waste any time, it seems. Good, because these changes are happening not a moment too soon.