Mission: To increase the transparency of and foster more openness and accountability in government.
Background: The Sunlight Foundation, a national nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for open government, was founded in 2006 by Michael Klein and Ellen Miller with the goal of using the Internet to make information about Congress and the federal government more meaningfully accessible to citizens. Through its Web Integrity Project (WIP), which was launched in 2018, the foundation seeks to hold the federal government accountable for changes in the information it makes available to the public, as well as changes in its stated policies and policy priorities. With the help of watchdog organizations such as the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative and the Project on Government Oversight, the news media, and WIP team members, Gov404, the project's censorship tracker, aggregates and verifies instances of the most significant online information censorship on the federal Web since November 2016. To that end, the tracker highlights changes to and removals of website resources and materials resulting in a substantial reduction in access to content that is of interest to users of those sites and/or that reflects changes in agency policy.
Outstanding Web Features: Gov404 is the largest repository of information about federal website removals, redactions, and access restrictions compiled to date. The site's presentation consists of several columns whose heads indicate the date the change took place, the type of change that occurred, the source of the information, a confirming source (if any), and whether the agency in question issued public notice of the change. Visitors interested in digging deeper can read detailed descriptions of the changes identified, search for changes by keyword, and learn more about the Sunlight Foundation's classifications of various types of content alterations. The fifty instances of information removal and/or access restriction identified by Gov404 to date includes the removal, without public notice, of websites and documents related to the Affordable Care Act; the systematic censoring of scientific and policy information related to climate change; LGBTQ health and policy resources that have been removed from federal websites focused on health, labor, housing, and education; and women's rights and health information that has been selectively removed from the Department of Justice and HHS websites. By browsing related articles, visitors can find additional information about federal website censorship activities under the current administration and also learn more about out how the tracker can be of use to members of the news media, lawmakers, and the general public.