By Gautham Nagesh - 03/31/11 11:15 PM EDT
THE LEDE: FedNewsRadio reports the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is preparing to shut down several of the White House's key transparency initiatives by May 31 if more funding is not approved. The House spending bill only included $2 million of the Obama administration's requested $35 million for the e-Government fund. Without additional funds, Data.gov and PaymentAccuracy.gov could be the first to go, joined later by USASpending.gov and several cloud computing efforts. Transparency advocates, some of whom have criticized the quality of data on the sites, are nonetheless dismayed by the perceived step back for the open-government movement.
OMB opens up code for sites: On the same day as reports of those sites' impending demise, federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra announced the release of the software source code for the IT Dashboard and another federal spending accountability toolkit. Kundra said the reasons were twofold: to allow the public to submit its ideas and improvements and to facilitate other states and local governments adopting the technology for themselves.
Microsoft accuses Google of abusing its market position: In a sign of how quickly things can change in the technology world, Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission alleging that Google violated competition laws. Brad Smith, the company's general counsel, said in a blog post that Microsoft is "concerned by a broadening pattern of conduct aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative." Smith cited Google's 95 percent control of the European search market to argue that the company has taken steps to "entrench" its dominance.
Obama accepts transparency award behind closed doors: After canceling a scheduled appearance to accept an award from transparency advocates during Sunshine Week earlier this month, President Obama finally accepted the award this week — without letting anyone know. According to various reports, Obama met with several transparency advocates for roughly 20 minutes on Monday to discuss open-government issues and accept an award for his commitment to increasing federal transparency.
FCC's Copps knocks AT&T/T-Mobile merger: Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has strong doubts about
AT&T's proposal to buy T-Mobile, calling it a "steeper climb" than
the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, a transaction he voted to
block, on an episode of C-SPAN'S "The Communicators" that
will air this weekend. Copps raised concerns that the merger
review would "suck the oxygen out of the room" for telecom issues before
Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission, and suggested
strong conditions might not be enough to justify a combination of this
Verizon says merger shouldn't be excuse to regulate: Verizon hasn't weighed in for or against the merger, but feels strongly the government must not use the transaction as an excuse to introduce onerous new mandates on the wireless industry. Top policy executive Tom Tauke is concerned that federal regulators could use AT&T's merger with T-Mobile as a pretext for the government to create new regulations. He said the FCC should also refrain from adding merger conditions that are not related to the transaction or that would otherwise require a rulemaking process, calling that a "perversion of the process."
Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) widened his probe of fraudulent billing practices by phone companies.
The House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration Policy held a hearing to discuss reforming the H-1B visa program.