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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Open Government Progress Report October 2015




October 2015


Since the release of the Department of Justice’s Open Government Plan 3.0 on June 1, 2014, Department components have been working hard to implement the commitments made. Following is a snapshot of the status as of September 30, 2015, of some of these commitments. You can find further details on each of these in the Plan

Our last status report was dated July 2015.


Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

In an effort to improve recruitment of medical professionals, the BOP developed a virtual recruitment strategy, which leverages social media.  In August 2015, BOP launched a presence on LinkedIn, which offers the agency an enhanced organizational profile within a large-scale, professional networking platform and provides targeted online job advertising. BOP is now able to reach a network of existing and potential health care candidates and share job advertisements with the most relevant target audience, generating the most qualified leads.


Civil Rights Division

Limited English Proficiency (LEP):  To provide language assistance to those with limited proficiency in English, the Federal Coordination and Compliance Section (FCS) has an active LEP outreach program through which it maintains regular contact with affected communities. As part of this important effort, FCS staff provides LEP training for community groups, as well as to various recipient organizations and other federal agencies. The Federal Interagency Working Group on LEP, which functions under FCS leadership, has active members from more than 35 federal agencies. During FY 2013, FCS led an Interagency Working Group project that created videos for use in training federal agency staff on how to provide language assistance, making them public in FY 2015. FCS also maintains the website, which contains extensive information about LEP issues and assists federal agencies, recipients, and the community in the quest for meaningful language access.

LEP MapsTo foster the development of improved language services nationwide, and to recognize the 15th Anniversary of Executive Order 13166, the FCS and the Geographic Information Systems Group developed and released a series of maps and demographic tools, which illustrate the diversity of limited English and non-English populations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  One of the tools, the “LEP Map App,” allows users to examine and download Census data on LEP populations at the State and County level using an interactive map.

The Title VI NewsletterThe FCS recently released the sixth issue of Title VI Civil Rights News @ FCS, the Division’s Title VI Newsletter.  The Newsletter provides examples of current federal Title VI enforcement activities and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the law. 


Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA):, DEA’s public facing website, is getting closer to moving to a cloud hosting content management system. This will not only change our process but the functionality and the look and feel of the site as well. Our website managers recently attended a workshop by Drupal vendor Acquia to identify DEA’s needs, technological capabilities, manpower resources, and core functions. This conversion process will take about a year, but it is well underway and will allow for the maintenance of a consistent, up-to-date design across the site, deliver site responsiveness to mobile devices, and improve the site’s functionality.

Recent DEA public initiatives posted to the website include two important stories related to other Open Government efforts by DEA:

  • National Take Back event on, included a Got Drugs carousel image, link to the Administrator’s PSA with still shot posted to the carousel image, the Toolbox button and a link to a National Take Back page with related resources.

  • DEA held its largest prescription drug Take Back initiative ever on Saturday, September 26, 2015. While the final amount of drugs taken in is not yet known, it is expected that we will have collected more prescription drugs than at any previous Take Back Day event. The September 26th event took place at approximately 5,000 locations and involved nearly 4,000 partners, as millions of Americans safely disposed of billions of dosages of prescription drugs.

The new head of the Office of Diversion Control met with registrants in Maryland:

  • DEA has over one million registrants who are part of a system that manufactures, distributes, prescribes and dispenses controlled prescription drugs. Over the past few months DEA has made a concerted effort to reach out to these registrants to find out what their concerns are. This has continued with the appointment of a new head of the Office of Diversion Control, Deputy Assistant Administrator Lou Milione. This includes a recent meeting with about 300 registrants in National Harbor, Maryland. This will not be the last of these kinds of meetings as Diversion continues to engage with these companies and their representatives.

Other DEA publications posted to the website this quarter include:

  • Intel documents - US Areas of Influence of major Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations, and Mexico: Updated Assessment of the Major DTO’s Areas of Dominant Control

  • DEA’s public facing websites, (JTT) and (GSAD) are updated on a daily basis whether it’s news articles, drug trend information, or other relevant information that may help further educate the public about the dangers and consequences of drug abuse.

  • DEA is in the process of updating several publications that should be posted to the websites (and made available in print) shortly.  These publications are titled:  Drugs of Abuse (general publication with details of all widely abused drugs); Heroin/Fentanyl; DEA Drug Fact Cards; and Prescription for Disaster:  How Teens Abuse Medicine.  This quarter, they will also be posted to, JTT, GSAD, and DEA’s Demand Reduction site.   

DEA Demand Reduction section’s outreach this past quarter includes:

  • DEA exhibited at the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, June 29-July 2, 2015, Indianapolis, IN

  • DEA exhibited, supported and participated in the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Mid-Year Training Institute

  • DEA exhibited at the National Association of Counties Annual Conference, July 10-13, Charlotte, NC

  • The Boy Scouts of America’s Red Ribbon Scout Patch Program began July 13 and ends October 31, 2015.  This initiative seeks to empower young people to create, embrace and strengthen their drug free beliefs.  Scouts earn a DEA patch by completing drug free activities and awarded by the Scout Leader who obtains the patches from DEA Demand Reduction.


National Security Division (NSD):

Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA):   The NSD Information Technology team and the Registration Unit staff continue to meet regularly to review and develop technical upgrades to FARA eFile and to the FARA database. The team is developing an improved, standardized web form that will provide greater uniformity in the responses and information received from registrants, as well as allow for significant improvements in search capability by the public and interested groups. 

Significant progress is being made to improve the FARA eFile application, simplify and streamline user interface, develop web forms to replace the current static filing methods, and enhance search and sort capabilities.   In the last quarter there has been an infrastructure refresh and upgrades to address security matters.  In addition, requirements have been identified and the engineering team has developed various prototypes. 

Refinements to the base requirements continue, and the team is in the process of designing the new eFile application and web forms.  After the designs are finalized, engineering and development activities will begin.  Once the development of these enhancements is complete and fully tested, the system will undergo OMB approval. 

The FARA Unit, along with NSD IT, is working to implement improved privacy features, reduce burden, and develop efficient methods to gather FARA public data and records more intelligently for eventual public researcher customization.


Office of Information Policy (OIP)

Drafting a Common FOIA Regulation:  In our Open Government 3.0 Plan, the Department announced that it would take the lead on the National Action Plan initiative to evaluate the feasibility of developing a potential common or core FOIA regulation applicable to all agencies.

  • Status:  Ongoing.  This initiative is well under way.  OIP kicked off the initiative in May 2014 by meeting with stakeholders both inside and outside the government.  OIP formed an interagency task force comprising separate teams responsible for each part of the FOIA regulation.  OIP facilitated several meetings with the task force teams and civil society organizations to discuss possible content of each subsection of the common regulation.  Members of civil society provided a sample Model FOIA Regulation for the task force to consider.  The teams first determined the basic content of each section of the regulation by compiling outlines.  Then, each team used agency FOIA regulations and the Model FOIA Regulations as guides to draft their section of the common regulation.  The task force is nearly complete in developing the first draft of a potential common regulation.  Next steps for this initiative will include consultations with agency stakeholders outside the task force.

Developing a Consolidated FOIA Portal:  In our 3.0 Plan, the Department also committed to funding this project and to serving as a key member of the project's task force, in close collaboration with the Office of the U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

  • Status:  Completed.  DOJ provided the initial funding for this project and worked closely with GSA on the first phase of researching and developing a consolidated portal.  As a result of that effort, DOJ and GSA launched as a sandbox for design and function concepts.  Moving into the second phase of this project, OIP is working with the Department's Chief Technology Officer on implementing the lessons learned and exploring existing IT tools and resources that could be leveraged.  

Improving Internal Agency Processes: The Department committed to holding a series of agency Best Practices workshops focused on specific topics concerning agencies' FOIA administration.

  • Status:  Completed.  OIP launched this initiative in May 2014 and so far has held six workshops on the following topics:
    1. Reducing Backlogs & Improving Timeliness
    2. Proactive Disclosures & Making Online Information more Useful
    3. Best Practices from the Requester's Perspective
    4. Implementing Technology to Improve FOIA Processing
    5. Customer Service and Dispute Resolution
    6. Best Practices for Small Agencies

OIP has also scheduled new workshops through 2016 on the following topics:

  1. Self-Assessments and Internal Reviews

  2. Reducing Backlogs and Improving Timeliness

  3. Best Practices from the Requester's Perspective

  4. FOIA Training Programs

You can read about all of these events on OIP's blog, FOIA Post.  OIP has also created a page on its website that provides all of the best practices highlighted at these sessions as a resource for all agencies. 

Improving FOIA Training Across the Government Through e-Learning: The Department committed to developing a suite of e-Learning training modules for all levels of the federal workforce.

  • Status:  Completed.  On March 13, 2015, OIP announced the rollout of a new suite of electronic FOIA training tools designed to ensure all agencies have important FOIA resources available to them as they administer the FOIA. The four new training resources consist of:  1) an infographic that provides FOIA basics for all new federal employees; 2) a video for senior executives that emphasizes the importance of high-level support to their agency’s FOIA program; 3) an e-Learning training module designed for any federal employee that provides a primer on the FOIA and highlights ways that employees can assist their agency in administering the law; and 4) an in-depth e-Learning training module designed for FOIA professionals which addresses all major procedural and substantive requirements of the law, as well as the importance of customer service. 

Other OIP Commitments

FOIA Libraries: The Department committed to directing all components to review and update their FOIA Libraries on a set schedule.

  • Status:  Ongoing.  As a foundational step, OIP has been conducting an ongoing review of the Department's FOIA websites as part of its Component Improvement Initiative.  Moreover, in an additional effort to implement this commitment, on April 3, 2015, the Department published new FOIA regulations that include a provision requiring components to ensure that their FOIA websites are reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis.  OIP will continue working with the components in the upcoming months to ensure procedures are in place to regularly review and update all of the Department's FOIA websites. 

Proactive Disclosures:  The Department committed to issuing new guidance on proactive disclosures.

  • Status:  Completed.  On March 16, 2015, OIP issued new guidance on proactive disclosures designed to improve agency compliance with the statutory provisions requiring agencies to make certain categories of non-exempt records available to the public without waiting for a FOIA request.  In addition to the legal requirements of the FOIA, the guidance addresses ways in which agencies can take additional steps to improve transparency through proactive disclosures in keeping with the President’s and Attorney General’s FOIA Memoranda.

Litigation Review: The Department will review a snapshot of its FOIA litigation for application of the AG's 2009 Guidelines.

  • Status: Currently pending and to be completed.

Component Improvement Initiative: We agreed to conduct a wide-range view of each Department component's FOIA operation to identify causes contributing to backlogs and areas where they can make improvements, as well as to share best practices that have resulted in success with other components.

  • Status:  Completed. OIP has completed its initial review and outreach as part of its Component Improvement Initiative.  Throughout Fiscal Year 2015, OIP will be implementing a number of recommendations developed from this initiative.  Additionally, OIP has implemented the first Annual Improvement Action Plan, which is customized to each individual component, and will carry forward the work started with the Component Improvement Initiative. 


Office of Public Affairs (OPA):

The Office of Public Affairs updated the “About Us” page on the Department’s website.  Improvements include new links to Attorneys General of the United States, biographies and speeches; Art and Architecture of the Robert F. Kennedy Main Justice Department Building; and History of the Department's Motto and Seal


Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties

The Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer (CPCLO) and the Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL) have taken a number of steps to implement the commitments made in the Department’s Open Government Plan 3.0, including:

Improve Privacy Compliance

  • Implementation of Revised Privacy Compliance Process:  In an effort to enhance the Department’s privacy compliance process, OPCL recently revised its compliance documentation, including the Department’s Initial Privacy Assessment (IPA) and Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) templates, and introduced a new Administrative PIA template.  Throughout this quarter, OPCL began utilizing these updated PIA and IPA templates for the first time.

  • Component Meetings: 

    The CPCLO and OPCL have continued to meet regularly with Department Senior Component Officials for Privacy (SCOPs), as well as other representatives from components in order to gather information about their respective privacy programs.  In addition, these meetings help to facilitate better coordination that improves overall privacy compliance.   The CPCLO and OPCL continue to hold informal meetings with components as matters arise.

  • Social Media Compliance:  OPCL has continued to work with the Department’s Web 2.0 Policy Working Group to ensure the Department’s use of social media and other communication technologies are compliant with applicable privacy laws and policies.  OPCL continued to assist the Working Group and the Department’s Office of Public Affairs in updating the Department’s policies regarding social media use.  Over the past quarter, OPCL and the Working Group successfully conducted a number of privacy compliance reviews prior to the launch of numerous Department social media accounts.

  • Publication of Overview of The Privacy Act of 1974 (2015):  In July, OPCL released the 2015 edition of its legal treatise on the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C § 552a (2012)), Overview of The Privacy Act of 1974.  This legal treatise provides reference to, and legal analysis of, court decisions discussing the Privacy Act, including its disclosure prohibitions, access and amendment obligations, and agency recordkeeping requirements.  Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974 is viewed as the leading Privacy Act resource for the federal government.

  • National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Privacy Controls:  To assist Department components in implementing privacy-enhancing controls into their IT systems, OPCL recently developed tailored resources for the Department to adopt the privacy controls found in Appendix J, Privacy Control Catalog, appended to the NIST Special Publication 800-53, Revision 4, Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations.  These controls will help ensure that each Department IT system has in place the appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards, and ensure the proper handling of personally identifiable information (PII).

  • Reminder to DOJ Employees of Privacy Compliance Responsibilities:  In August, a joint memorandum was issued from the CPCLO and the Department’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), reminding all Department employees of the privacy protections that apply to PII maintained in the Department’s systems.  Department employees were also reminded of their continuing obligations related to the safeguarding of sensitive PII, including their responsibilities to minimize the use of SSNs, and when using SSNs is absolutely necessary, to redact or mask the data to the extent feasible.   

    Increase Transparency of Privacy Policies

  • Outreach with Advocacy Groups and Other Agencies:  The CPCLO and OPCL have also worked with various advocacy groups, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to address privacy concerns, as well as ways to improve agency outreach.  Moreover, the CPCLO and OPCL have met with other federal agencies to improve inter-agency coordination, and to discuss agency privacy practices and common concerns.  These meetings enable OPCL to review and assess the Department’s information and privacy-related policies, and make improvements where appropriate and necessary.

  • Speaking Engagements and Panel Participation:  The CPCLO and OPCL have continued to participate in a number of panel discussions and speaking engagements to promote transparency of the Department’s policies, initiatives, and oversight with respect to the protection of privacy and civil liberties. 

  • Access to Privacy Policies and Compliance Reports:  The CPCLO and OPCL have been participating in meetings with the White House, the PCLOB, and other federal agencies to discuss ways to improve the Department’s privacy and civil liberties reports, including the privacy and cybersecurity assessment required by Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.   Discussions on improving such reports are still ongoing.

  • Section 803 Privacy and Civil Liberties Report:  OPCL recently published its most recent fiscal year 2015 Privacy and Civil Liberties Report, in accordance with Section 803 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, 42 U.S.C. § 2000ee-1 (2012).  This semi-annual report describes many of OPCL’s privacy and civil liberties activities during the reporting period of October 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015.  Additionally, the CPCLO and OPCL have continued discussions with the PCLOB and other federal agencies on ways to improve the Report required by Section 803.

  • Open Government National Action Plan:  The CPCLO and OPCL have been actively involved in the drafting of the White House’s Third Open Government National Action Plan.  The commitments to be made by the Administration in this plan will encourage federal agencies to be more open and accountable.

  • Development and Implementation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Policies: The CPLCO and OPCL have engaged with the Department’s law enforcement agencies to ensure that the proper privacy and civil liberties requirements are developed and implemented as part of the Department’s UAS operations, as required by the President’s Memorandum, “Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (Feb. 15, 2015), and the Deputy Attorney General’s Memorandum, “Department Policy Regarding the Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (May 22, 2015).

    Enhance Sharing of Best Practices on Data Privacy

  • Guidance to State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Entities on Best Practices:  The CPCLO has submitted to the White House descriptions of DOJ’s resources and outreach with state, local, and tribal law enforcement entities on privacy best practices.  Additionally, the CPCLO and OPCL, in coordination with the Department’s Office of Legal Policy, have been addressing how these entities can best use predictive analytics without having a disparate impact on vulnerable populations.


United States Trustee Program (USTP):

In quarter 3 we posted 12 additional data sets.  These include postings of our civil enforcement data (formal and informal enforcement actions, litigation outcomes and potential financial impact).  It also includes our Language Assistance Program (LAP) data, which is collected on the use of telephone language interpreters during the meeting of creditors.  Finally, it includes data on Chapter 7 Asset Cases Closed, which is collected from trustee final reports with the distribution of funds to creditors and to administrative expenses.  Here is how the 12 data postings break down:


1 Chapter 7 Asset Data

1 Chapter 7 Asset Summary

1 Formal Enforcement Actions

1 Informal Enforcement Actions

1 Litigation Outcomes

1 Potential Financial Impact



Updated November 6, 2020