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DNC touts open government initiatives in party platform

President Barack Obama speaks during campaign stop.

President Barack Obama speaks during campaign stop. // David Zalubowski/AP

This story was updated to note that the GOP platform did not address open government.

Democrats used their party platform, posted online Tuesday, as an opportunity to tout transparency advances under the Obama administration such as the president’s Open Government Initiative and the government information trove Data.gov.

The platform praises Data.gov in particular for helping the private sector “pioneer innovative new services.” Technology officials have argued companies and nonprofits can build thriving industries from federal information related to energy, the environment and other topics similar to industries based on government-gathered weather and Global Positioning System data.

“We are committed to using government as a platform to spur innovation and collaboration,” the document states.

The platform, which focuses primarily on strengthening the economy and national security, was unveiled in advance of the Democratic National Convention beginning Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.

The Obama administration has launched numerous online tools aimed at raising government accountability, including databases of lobbying disclosures and White House visitors, the platform notes.

The White House visitors log has been criticized by some transparency advocates for including only visits that take place on White House grounds and often listing the names of staffers requesting authorization for a visitor rather than the official with whom the visitor is meeting. Officials have responded that the White House is making public the only records it keeps on visitors -- which are collected for security purposes rather than for transparency.

The Democratic platform also touts the administration’s leadership role in the Open Government Partnership, an international coalition launched in 2011 to promote transparency.

The platform states the party is “strongly committed to protecting an open Internet that fosters investment, innovation, creativity, consumer choice and free speech, unfettered by censorship or undue violations of privacy.”

The Republican National Committee also pledged support for Internet freedom in its platform, though it painted international regulators rather than national censors in China, Iran and elsewhere as the main adversaries of an open Internet.

“We will resist any effort to shift control away from the successful multistakeholder approach of Internet governance and toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations,” the RNC platform states.

The Republican platform did not address open government issues. 

The Democratic platform signals the president’s intent to issue an executive order to help industry and government prepare for and respond to cyberattacks.

The Republican platform accused the Obama administration of overreaching on cyber policy and attempting to centralize too much power into government’s hands.

The Democratic platform also pledges to “ensure that America has a 21st century digital infrastructure -- robust wired and wireless broadband capability, a smarter electrical grid and upgraded information technology infrastructure in key sectors such as health care and education.”

The Republican platform made similar promises, but painted the Obama administration and federal regulators as the chief barriers to progress.

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