Freedom of Information

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  • Midweek FOIA News: FTC Loss, Legacy Media Doesn't Do FOIA

    The FOIA blog
    scott hodes
    26 Aug 2015 | 6:14 am
    A major FOIA decision came down from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as the Court disagreed with the FTC's reading of fee waiver guidelines that had blocked the agency from granting a fee waiver to a non-profit.  The Daily Caller has more details here.  The case will have likely ramifications as some agencies have tried to block requests by using fee waiver rules like the ones rejected here. The Columbia Journalism Review has this on the fact that new online media is making FOIA requests, but many older legacy media companies aren't.  Of…
  • California open government roundup: Note passing at Morgan Hills school board meeting raises questions

    FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION » News & Opinion
    donal brown
    25 Aug 2015 | 10:25 am
    While considering whether to move sixth grade classes to middle school, the Morgan Hill schools superintendent passed a note to a board member prompting her on a point of parliamentary procedure. Members of the public objected at the time and later charged that note-passing violated the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law. (Morgan Hill Times, […]
  • Former Gov. Andrus files appeal after DOE refuses to release documents on nuke waste under FOIA

    IDOG
    IDOG
    17 Aug 2015 | 3:26 pm
    Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus, who filed a Freedom of Information Act request in January for documents about the U.S. Department of Energy’s plans to seek a waiver from the 1995 nuclear waste agreement with Idaho to allow commercial spent nuclear fuel to be sent to the state, has formally appealed the DOE’s response, which he says took nearly six months and withheld much of the requested information. From Eye on Boise/The Spokesman-Review
  • Dold, Poliquin rake in most Wall Street money in competitive House races

    OpenSecrets Blog
    Alex Lazar
    27 Aug 2015 | 9:01 am
    Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) The Dow’s recent skids have investors on edge about how bad things might get on Wall Street. But there is one thing they can count on: the financial industry’s place as a top donor to congressional candidates cycle after cycle. Consider some of the pivotal House races taking shape, for example, where Wall Street is flexing its donor muscle. Opensecrets.org looked at Wall Street giving to candidates in 17 races identified as tossups by the Cook Political Report, Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report and/or Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball. As of…
  • Kansas officials rebuff lawsuit seeking voting machine records

    Sunlight Foundation Blog
    Melissa Yeager
    26 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    (Photo credit: Justin Grimes/Flickr) Voting records, so long as they don’t personally identify the people voting, should be public records to ensure the validity of elections. They provide valuable checks and balances for our electoral process. That’s why we here at the Sunlight Foundation are watching a lawsuit playing out in Kansas involving electronic voting machines. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, R, has asked a judge in Wichita to block the release of voting machine paper tapes from the November 2014 election, according to a report by the Associated Press. Wichita State…
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    The FOIA blog

  • Midweek FOIA News: FTC Loss, Legacy Media Doesn't Do FOIA

    scott hodes
    26 Aug 2015 | 6:14 am
    A major FOIA decision came down from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as the Court disagreed with the FTC's reading of fee waiver guidelines that had blocked the agency from granting a fee waiver to a non-profit.  The Daily Caller has more details here.  The case will have likely ramifications as some agencies have tried to block requests by using fee waiver rules like the ones rejected here. The Columbia Journalism Review has this on the fact that new online media is making FOIA requests, but many older legacy media companies aren't.  Of…
  • More on Cybersecurity Bill FOIA Provision's Death

    scott hodes
    25 Aug 2015 | 1:46 pm
    Prior to going out on recess, the Senate was slated to act on the Cybersecurity bill which included a brand new FOIA Exemption to add to 5 U.S.C. 522.  This was not an exemption 3 statute, but would have become FOIA exemption 10. After the exemption was spotted in draft legislation (there was no warning that it was coming nor was there any hearing discussing it), a coalition of non-profits, led by OpenGovernment.org became active in publicizing the provision, including writing senators.  In fact, it is believed that the provision was never shown to the…
  • Sixth Circuit Continues Mug Shot Disclosure

    scott hodes
    13 Aug 2015 | 5:46 am
    A panel of judges in the Sixth Circuit has ruled that following court precedent mug shots will continued to be released within the circuit.  Other circuit courts has ruled that they are protectable under the FOIA.  The judges did urge the entire Sixth Circuit to take up the issue en banc to reconsider its previous ruling.  The Plaintiff, the Detroit Free Press has more, including the opinion.
  • New OGIS Director Begins Tenure

    scott hodes
    11 Aug 2015 | 5:32 am
    FCW has this on the appointment of James Holzer as the Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS).  OGIS has been without a director since Miriam Nisbet retired in the Fall of 2014.
  • Legislation Update

    scott hodes
    10 Aug 2015 | 6:28 am
    The Senate went on recess before voting on the Cybersecurity bill - however the FOIA provisions of the bill were pulled before the recess.  More on the bill from Computer World.
 
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    FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION » News & Opinion

  • California open government roundup: Note passing at Morgan Hills school board meeting raises questions

    donal brown
    25 Aug 2015 | 10:25 am
    While considering whether to move sixth grade classes to middle school, the Morgan Hill schools superintendent passed a note to a board member prompting her on a point of parliamentary procedure. Members of the public objected at the time and later charged that note-passing violated the Brown Act, California’s open meeting law. (Morgan Hill Times, […]
  • Right of publicity prevails over First Amendment argument in dispute over use of athletes’ images

    donal brown
    20 Aug 2015 | 10:41 am
    A video game company and former college athletes settled a lawsuit over the use of the athletes’ images and likenesses in video games.  Electronic Arts had claimed unsuccessfully that the use of the images was protected under the First Amendment. (Courthouse News Service, August 19, 2015, by Maria Dinzeo) The lawsuit pitted the right of […]
  • Commerical free speech: Federal court scuttles disclosure rule for conflict minerals

    donal brown
    20 Aug 2015 | 9:49 am
    In line with a number of recent court decisions upholding free speech rights of corporations, the District Columbia federal appeals court ruled that the SEC could not make public companies reveal that their  products contained “conflict minerals.” The ruling overturned a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Human rights group argued for […]
  • Offensive restrictions on free speech still common on U.S. campuses

    donal brown
    18 Aug 2015 | 12:33 pm
    A report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reveals that U.S. colleges are illegally restricting students’ First Amendment rights. Its annual speech code survey of 437 schools found that 55 percent retain codes that silence students. The good news is that the total was 58.6 percent in 2014. (Personal Liberty, August 14, […]
  • U.S. Supreme Court may hear case on disclosure of cell phone shutdown plan

    donal brown
    18 Aug 2015 | 11:44 am
    The Electronic Privacy Information Center is appealing  to the U.S. Supreme Court on its Freedom of Information Act request rejected in federal appeals court. The center wants access to plans of the Department of Homeland Security to shut down cell phone service during emergencies. In 2011 cell phone service was shut down in San Francisco […]
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    IDOG

  • Former Gov. Andrus files appeal after DOE refuses to release documents on nuke waste under FOIA

    IDOG
    17 Aug 2015 | 3:26 pm
    Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus, who filed a Freedom of Information Act request in January for documents about the U.S. Department of Energy’s plans to seek a waiver from the 1995 nuclear waste agreement with Idaho to allow commercial spent nuclear fuel to be sent to the state, has formally appealed the DOE’s response, which he says took nearly six months and withheld much of the requested information. From Eye on Boise/The Spokesman-Review
  • New Attorney General’s manuals out now include changes to Public Records, Open Meeting laws

    IDOG
    8 Jul 2015 | 11:37 am
    The Idaho Attorney General’s office has published new versions of its manuals on the Idaho Public Records Law, the Idaho Open meeting Law and the Ethics in Government law, to reflect changes enacted by the Legislature this year, including recodifying all three statutes into a new title of the Idaho Code entitled “Transparent and Ethical Government.” From Eye on Boise/The Spokesman-Review
  • Caldwell trustees mum on superintendent, assistant removal

    IDOG
    24 Jun 2015 | 10:30 am
    Residents of Caldwell packed the school district board room Monday night to address trustees with a host of questions and expressions of disappointment one week after the board removed Superintendent Tim Rosandick and Assistant Superintendent Luci Asumendi from active duty status. From the Idaho Press-Tribune
  • Government seeks to shield terrorism witnesses from view

    IDOG
    10 Jun 2015 | 8:52 am
    Prosecutors want to hide two witnesses behind a screen in an upcoming terrorism trial to shield their identities from the public and allow them to testify using made-up names. From the Idaho Statesman
  • Open process to seek new Idaho Court of Appeals judge yields four finalists: Three women, one man

    IDOG
    1 Jun 2015 | 10:26 am
    Here’s an interesting contrast: While Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch pursue a secret process to name a recommended replacement for longtime U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge, who will take senior status July 3, a much different and more open process is under way to replace the retiring state Court of Appeals Judge Karen Lansing. From Eye on Boise/The Spokesman-Review
 
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    OpenSecrets Blog

  • Dold, Poliquin rake in most Wall Street money in competitive House races

    Alex Lazar
    27 Aug 2015 | 9:01 am
    Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) The Dow’s recent skids have investors on edge about how bad things might get on Wall Street. But there is one thing they can count on: the financial industry’s place as a top donor to congressional candidates cycle after cycle. Consider some of the pivotal House races taking shape, for example, where Wall Street is flexing its donor muscle. Opensecrets.org looked at Wall Street giving to candidates in 17 races identified as tossups by the Cook Political Report, Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report and/or Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball. As of…
  • Watchdog groups call on Ethics Committee to release findings in Azerbaijan case

    Will Tucker
    26 Aug 2015 | 2:17 pm
    Baku skyline (Flickr/Trevor Claringbold) Ten government watchdog groups have called on House Ethics Committee Chair Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) to release the Office of Congressional Ethics’ findings regarding all-expense-paid trips to Azerbaijan taken by 10 members of Congress in 2013, according to a Wednesday press release. Earlier this month, the Ethics Committee dropped its own probe into the trips, cleared the lawmakers of wrongdoing and did not release the OCE’s findings. “We are concerned about the committee’s unprecedented…
  • Cruz prays for clergy support, but Clinton’s blessings tally higher

    vnovak
    25 Aug 2015 | 3:12 pm
    GOP White House candidate Ted Cruz on Monday at a Faith & Freedom event in Anderson, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) Ted Cruz is on a crusade to lock down what he calls “the evangelical bracket,” emailing 100,000 pastors last weekend to mobilize their congregations in a 50-state campaign to defund Planned Parenthood. The Texas GOP senator, who carried the votes of many religious conservatives in his 2012 Senate run, maintained at a religious liberty-themed campaign rally in Iowa last Friday that the Supreme Court and other institutions are waging a “war on faith.”…
  • Grayson, Toomey lead in small-donor funding in competitive Senate races

    Alex Lazar
    21 Aug 2015 | 8:41 am
    Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) The 2016 presidential candidates are well ensconced in the money race, but they are not the only ones infected with donation fever. Candidates in competitive Senate races are trying to raise as much money as they possibly can, while also seeking to boast that they receive more small-dollar donations, a sign that they are more in touch with voters and the grassroots. Thus far, it looks like Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have the most boasting to do. Among major candidates in competitive Senate races, Grayson received…
  • Hybrid PACs collectively beat fundraising records of past election cycles

    Alex Lazar
    17 Aug 2015 | 2:55 pm
    (Federal Election Commission) The 2012 election cycle saw the birth of little-known hybrid PACs, also known as Carey committees, which can maintain two separate accounts; one for contributions to federal candidates and parties, and the other for independent expenditures, to which unlimited contributions can be made. The committees, which emerged as a result of the case Carey v. FECcollectively raised over $1.55 million in the first six months of 2011, a number that jumped to more than $9.75 million for the same period in 2013 (these numbers do not include ActBlue, which technically…
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • Kansas officials rebuff lawsuit seeking voting machine records

    Melissa Yeager
    26 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    (Photo credit: Justin Grimes/Flickr) Voting records, so long as they don’t personally identify the people voting, should be public records to ensure the validity of elections. They provide valuable checks and balances for our electoral process. That’s why we here at the Sunlight Foundation are watching a lawsuit playing out in Kansas involving electronic voting machines. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, R, has asked a judge in Wichita to block the release of voting machine paper tapes from the November 2014 election, according to a report by the Associated Press. Wichita State…
  • White House makes Presidential Innovation Fellows program permanent

    Louis Serino
    25 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    President Obama on extending the PIF program: "These fellows are helping us upgrade the way Americans interact with their government online." Great news for the world of civic tech: Last week, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that makes the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program a permanent staple of the federal government. Operating since 2012, the PIF program recruits engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and other innovators to team up with federal employees, with the goal of improving programs and agencies like a "lean startup." Fellows spend 12 months as "embedded…
  • Twitter shuts down 30 international versions of Politwoops

    Jenn Topper
    24 Aug 2015 | 9:28 am
    Over the weekend, Twitter informed the Open State Foundation that it was suspending API access to all remaining Politwoops sites in 30 countries around the world. In May, Twitter shut down the U.S. version run by the Sunlight Foundation, a deeply disappointing choice that eliminated a genuine tool for public accountability. A statement from the Open State Foundation read: Politwoops began in the Netherlands in 2010 at a hackathon. Since then it has been further developed by Open State Foundation, turning it into a useful tool for journalists and spreading it to 30 countries, from Egypt,…
  • Sunlight joins coalition demanding Congressional Research Service reports be published online

    Zachary Sorenson
    24 Aug 2015 | 8:43 am
    A view inside the Library of Congress, which houses the Congressional Research Service. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol/Flickr) In an open letter sent today to the leadership of the House and Senate committees that oversee the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Sunlight Foundation joined a bipartisan coalition of 40 advocacy groups, businesses, nonprofits and think tanks, as well as over 90 scholars, researchers, librarians, activists and private citizens, to support public access to CRS reports. Last year, the CRS wrote more than 1,000 new reports, updated 2,500 more and…
  • OpenGov Voices: Richmond’s new open data portal a good start, but more work needed

    guest author Tom Nash
    23 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Tom Nash, journalist and FOIA agitator The city of Richmond, Va., recently unveiled an open data portal that gives people access to important data that had long languished in dark corners of its website. Everything from crime data to property records are easily searchable and downloadable, with all sorts of charts and datasets ready to grab. That all sounds fantastic, and it is. More cities, especially mid-size cities like Richmond, should be getting on board with the open data movement. But as a journalist who has now seen two small cities (see Somerville, Mass.) embrace this kind of…
 
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    Deeplinks

  • Ley Stalker: Organizaciones Internacionales Piden Al Gobierno Peruano Proteger La Privacidad De Sus Ciudadanos

    David Bogado
    26 Aug 2015 | 4:38 pm
    En una carta abierta dirigida a la Comisión de Constitución y Reglamento del Congreso del Perú, que será responsable de la revisión del Decreto Legislativo 1182 firmado por la Presidencia del país latinoamericano, diversas organizaciones internacionales defensoras de los derechos humanos en el mundo digital han expresado su preocupación sobre la flamante normativa. El DL 1182, que fue bautizado como “Ley Acosadora” o “Ley Stalker” en idioma inglés, obliga a proveedoras de telefonía y servicios de Internet a retener los metadatos de la población que usa teléfono móvil o…
  • Stalker Law: International Organizations Call Upon the Peruvian Government To Protect Its Citizens’ Privacy

    David Bogado
    26 Aug 2015 | 4:34 pm
    In an open letter directed to the congress of Peru’s Commission on Constitution and Rules, a coalition of international human rights organizations have expressed their concern about Legislative Decree 1182 (“DL 1182,” “Ley Acosadora,” or “Stalker Law” in English)--a Peruvian bill that allows law enforcement access to mobile phone location data in cases of flagrante delicto without a warrant, and requires telecom companies to retain data for a period of three years thus violating the fundamental rights of millions of Peruvians. The Commission on Constitution and Rules will be…
  • With Kafkaesque Flourish, the Eastern District of Texas Penalizes Parties for Following the Rules

    Vera Ranieri
    26 Aug 2015 | 3:52 pm
    In the wake of the Supreme Court’s June 2014 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, most courts have been quickly and efficiently getting rid of patents that improperly claim “abstract ideas.” In Alice, the Supreme Court held that “abstract ideas,” without more, were unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101. According to one source, at least 150 patents have had claims invalidated as “abstract” since Alice. Those accused of infringing these invalid patents have regularly filed motions to dismiss at the outset of a case, having the issue heard before too much time and energy is spent. Courts…
  • TVEyes Wide Shut: Ruling on Broadcast Archiving Service Undermines Fair Use

    Vera Ranieri
    26 Aug 2015 | 3:30 pm
    A great decision on the fair use of radio and TV excerpts has been followed up by a troubling one that walks back some of the protections for new and innovative uses of media. Two years ago, Fox News sued a company called TVEyes, which creates a text-searchable database of broadcast content from thousands of television and radio stations in the United States and worldwide. It’s used by journalists, scholars, and political campaigns to study and monitor the national media. Last September, the court ruled that the service was for the most part engaging in fair use, but wanted to know more…
  • Senators Looking to Add Bad CFAA Amendments to Bad Cybersecurity Bill

    Cindy Cohn
    26 Aug 2015 | 3:24 pm
    Sometimes bad things get even worse.  The news out of Washington is that when Congress comes back into session in September, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will try to add some bad Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) amendments onto the already awful cybersecurity bill. EFF has long been critical of the CFAA, especially after the horribly misguided prosecution of our friend Aaron Swartz. EFF proposed common sense changes to the law and many of them were included in “Aaron's law,” recently reintroduced. We had hoped that Congress would embrace Aaron’s law as a first step to stem the…
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    The Fine Print: blog posts from Center for Effective Government

  • CEG's Scott Klinger on Los Angeles Public Radio

    sys_anon
    25 Aug 2015 | 7:17 am
    CEG’s Scott Klinger talks with Los Angeles Public Radio’s Ian Masters about the effect of the dramatic stock market decline on Americans’ retirement security. The pair discuss ways the government could create retirement options that would allow workers invest in rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, as an alternative to using our retirement dollars to fatten Wall Street’s profits and power.   Listen to the show: Your user agent does not support the HTML5 Audio element.
  • Student Debt Matters to All of Us

    jschieder
    24 Aug 2015 | 6:00 am
    A college degree is arguably the best investment a young person can make in his or her economic future.  A university education is associated with higher lifetime earnings, and lower risk of unemployment. But beyond the individual benefits, society has an interest in an educated citizenry.  Beyond the goal of having an educated workforce, if we want our democracy to thrive in the 21st century, we need individuals with critical thinking skills, intellectual curiosity, an ability to consider options and trade-offs, and to plan for our collective future.  For political as well as…
  • Creating a Monster? Proposed Monsanto Merger with Swiss Chemical Giant Raises Troubling Questions

    bgumm
    21 Aug 2015 | 7:30 am
    Farmers and scientists intimidated. Groundwater contamination. Human health risks. The decimation of one of America's most iconic wildlife species. These are just some of the problems we've seen thanks to Monsanto, the world's dominant producer of genetically modified crops, and Syngenta, a Swiss chemical company that manufactures controversial agricultural poisons. As an NPR story noted on Aug. 17, Monsanto wants to merge the two companies, a proposal that raises troubling questions about industry influence and impacts on our health and natural resources. Monsanto first approached Syngenta…
  • Now You Can Yelp Your Favorite Federal Agency

    jschieder
    21 Aug 2015 | 6:38 am
    Under a new agreement with Yelp— a website that allows people to locate and review local businesses— federal agencies will now be able to claim existing Yelp pages that already bear their name or create new pages. Since Yelp already maintained pages on federal agencies where citizens could rate them, this change will allow federal agencies to respond to citizen queries and complaints and engage with people across the country. Enabling agencies to accept and respond to feedback via Yelp— a platform visited by 83 million visitors on average every month—will open yet…
  • Will Wind Energy Emerge as the Unsung Hero in Fighting Climate Change?

    rwhite
    20 Aug 2015 | 2:00 pm
    Daniel D’Arcy, CEG Environmental Right-to-Know Intern, contributed to this article. While solar energy typically receives the most attention as the “bright future” of renewable energy, there is strong evidence that wind energy will emerge as the “unsung hero” of the renewable clean energy movement. A key strategy for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming included in President Obama’s Clean Power Plan unveiled earlier this month is to grow renewable energy from its current 10 percent of all energy used in America to 28 percent by…
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    Local Open Government Blog

  • Text Messages on Private Devices Subject to Washington Public Records Act

    Steve DiJulio
    27 Aug 2015 | 11:22 am
    On August 27, 2015, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed lower courts in holding “that text messages sent and received by a public employee in the employee's official capacity are public records of the employer, even if the employee uses a private cell phone.” Nissen v. Pierce County The case arose when a sheriff’s detective sent requests to Pierce County for records related to the County Prosecutor. One request was for cellular telephone records for the Prosecutor’s personal phone. There was no dispute that the Prosecutor personally bought the phone, pays for its…
  • Washington Court Holds Ballots Secret and Not Subject to Public Disclosure

    Steve DiJulio
    14 Jul 2015 | 2:55 pm
    The Washington Constitution, Article VI, Section 6 states: “The Legislature shall provide for such method of voting as will secure to every elector absolute secrecy in preparing and depositing his ballot.” This provision was central to a Washington Court of Appeals decision on July 13, 2015, rejecting a public records act request for “copies of electronic or digital image files” of ballots. White v. Skagit County and Island County, ___ Wn. App. ___, No. 72028-7 (Jul. 13, 2015). Following the 2013 Washington general election, Timothy White sent public records requests…
  • No Privacy Interest In Employee's Identity Connected To Existence Of Investigation When Allegations Are Not Described

    Lee Marchisio
    3 Apr 2015 | 11:05 am
    In Predisik v. Spokane School District No. 81, the Washington Supreme Court holds by a 5 justice majority that disclosure of employer investigation records that reveal an employee’s identity do not implicate employee privacy rights under the Public Records Act (PRA) when the records do not describe the allegations being investigated.  The court therefore reversed the Court of Appeals below, ordered disclosure of the records without redaction, and denied the employees’ requests for injunctive relief under the PRA.  Two media outlets submitted public records requests to…
  • Washington Supreme Court Grants Petitions to Review Nissen v. Pierce County

    Adrian Urquhart Winder
    5 Mar 2015 | 12:48 pm
    On March 3, 2015, the Washington Supreme Court granted two petitions to review Nissen v. Pierce County, 183 Wn. App. 581, 333 P.3d 577 (2014).  In Nissen, the Washington Court of Appeals applied the Washington Public Records Act and held that text messages sent and received from a government employee’s (the elected prosecuting attorney’s) private cell phone are public records if they relate to government business, as are portions of call logs that track a government employee’s private, non-agency cell phone.  Read more about the decision here.  Pierce County…
  • Hillary Clinton Defends Use of Personal E-mail

    Steve DiJulio
    3 Mar 2015 | 7:55 am
    On March 2, 2015, The New York Times reported that Hilary Clinton, during her tenure as Secretary of State, may have violated federal regulations by using her personal e-mail to conduct government business. The report says that Clinton aides took no measures to preserve the personal emails on the department servers, which is required by the Federal Records Act. Read more at: http://www.king5.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/03/hillary-clinton-emails/24299925/  
 
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    Kentucky Open Government Blog

  • Defining 'public agency' under Kentucky's open meetings, records laws

    21 Aug 2015 | 8:51 am
    One of the issues that can arise under the state's open meetings and open records laws is that an entity can claim that it is not a public agency. A determination of a body's status as a public agency affects whether it must comply with the state's openness laws. Thus, defining what is a public agency under state law is an important topic for understanding the requirements placed on such agencies in Kentucky.KRS 61.805 defines public agency for open meetings purposes, and KRS 61.870 defines the term for open records purposes.The following list includes the entities Kentucky's open…
  • Keeping an eye on Kentucky's public agencies

    13 Aug 2015 | 7:42 am
    The aim of this blog is to provide citizens of Kentucky with analysis of open meetings and open records decisions by the state's attorney general.Every state in the nation has laws that seek to provide the public with access to certain information and documents of governmental agencies. These laws are sometimes labeled "sunshine laws" because they expose what public officers or departments might otherwise prefer to keep hidden or in the dark.Kentucky's legislature has explained, through statute, that the public policy of the state's open records law is based on the idea "that free and open…
  • UK properly denied certain requests by CNN, but it erred in denying others

    8 Sep 2014 | 3:50 pm
    The University of Kentucky properly denied certain requests from CNN relating to the university’s pediatric cardiothoracic program, but it erred by not providing the news network with sufficient information about records that the university claimed did not exist, the attorney general said in an August 6 opinion.The opinion, In re: CNN/University of Kentucky, concerned requests that CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen made to the university on February 13 and March 27, 2014.Cohen requested records relating to UK’s pediatric heart surgery program.The university properly made…
  • An Open Meetings Act violation must occur before the attorney general can address it

    8 Sep 2014 | 3:46 pm
    The attorney general will not address a violation of the Open Meetings Act that is anticipated but has not occurred, according to an August 8 opinion.The opinion concerned an appeal by Michael Murphy in regard to the Glencoe City Council’s response to his July 1, 2014, written complaint, which alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act based on the council’s actions regarding non-agenda topics.The attorney general found that the city had violated certain provisions of the act by “discussing and acting on non-agenda topics” at a June 16 special meeting.According to the opinion, the…
  • State violated Open Records Act with conditional use agreement

    8 Sep 2014 | 3:43 pm
    The Cabinet for Health and Family Services violated the Open Records Act by making the release of information requested by USA TODAY conditioned on a use agreement, according to an attorney general opinion released August 13.The opinion, In re: USA TODAY/Cabinet for Health and Family Services, concerned an appeal by USA TODAY after the cabinet agreed to comply with a request, but then made the release of information conditioned on a reporter completing a use agreement that would not have allowed her to name healthcare providers found within the information.USA TODAY reporter Alison Young had…
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • Kansas officials rebuff lawsuit seeking voting machine records

    Melissa Yeager
    26 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    (Photo credit: Justin Grimes/Flickr) Voting records, so long as they don’t personally identify the people voting, should be public records to ensure the validity of elections. They provide valuable checks and balances for our electoral process. That’s why we here at the Sunlight Foundation are watching a lawsuit playing out in Kansas involving electronic voting machines. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, R, has asked a judge in Wichita to block the release of voting machine paper tapes from the November 2014 election, according to a report by the Associated Press. Wichita State…
  • White House makes Presidential Innovation Fellows program permanent

    Louis Serino
    25 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    President Obama on extending the PIF program: "These fellows are helping us upgrade the way Americans interact with their government online." Great news for the world of civic tech: Last week, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that makes the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program a permanent staple of the federal government. Operating since 2012, the PIF program recruits engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and other innovators to team up with federal employees, with the goal of improving programs and agencies like a "lean startup." Fellows spend 12 months as "embedded…
  • Twitter shuts down 30 international versions of Politwoops

    Jenn Topper
    24 Aug 2015 | 9:28 am
    Over the weekend, Twitter informed the Open State Foundation that it was suspending API access to all remaining Politwoops sites in 30 countries around the world. In May, Twitter shut down the U.S. version run by the Sunlight Foundation, a deeply disappointing choice that eliminated a genuine tool for public accountability. A statement from the Open State Foundation read: Politwoops began in the Netherlands in 2010 at a hackathon. Since then it has been further developed by Open State Foundation, turning it into a useful tool for journalists and spreading it to 30 countries, from Egypt,…
  • Sunlight joins coalition demanding Congressional Research Service reports be published online

    Zachary Sorenson
    24 Aug 2015 | 8:43 am
    A view inside the Library of Congress, which houses the Congressional Research Service. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol/Flickr) In an open letter sent today to the leadership of the House and Senate committees that oversee the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Sunlight Foundation joined a bipartisan coalition of 40 advocacy groups, businesses, nonprofits and think tanks, as well as over 90 scholars, researchers, librarians, activists and private citizens, to support public access to CRS reports. Last year, the CRS wrote more than 1,000 new reports, updated 2,500 more and…
  • OpenGov Voices: Richmond’s new open data portal a good start, but more work needed

    guest author Tom Nash
    23 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Tom Nash, journalist and FOIA agitator The city of Richmond, Va., recently unveiled an open data portal that gives people access to important data that had long languished in dark corners of its website. Everything from crime data to property records are easily searchable and downloadable, with all sorts of charts and datasets ready to grab. That all sounds fantastic, and it is. More cities, especially mid-size cities like Richmond, should be getting on board with the open data movement. But as a journalist who has now seen two small cities (see Somerville, Mass.) embrace this kind of…
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    WordPress Tag: Open Government

  • DGS Announces Find a New Way Code-a-thon and Green Gov Challenge

    California Department of General Services
    25 Aug 2015 | 3:41 pm
    The contest is on! Today DGS Director Daniel C. Kim helped kick off the Find a New Way code-a-thon to promote sustainability and open government. Participants can win up to $25,000. 25KFindANewWay‬ Read more about the Green Gov Challenge
  • EPA releases records at 10:30 pm Friday

    nevadapress
    23 Aug 2015 | 11:37 am
    I guess you could call it standard operating procedure.  When there is bad news, announce it late Friday afternoon.  That’s in the playbook of every sleazy, dishonest flack in the PR universe.  So what does it say about the EPA that it ended its foot-dragging on records about the Animas River spill at 10:30 p.m. Friday? Does it say the EPA is guilty, embarrassed, incompetent, untrustworthy and toxically bureaucratic? That’s certainly the message I got.  Oh, and the documents were redacted. So it’s actually worse than we know.    
  • Welcome to my week of #ANZSOG2015

    The Data Starter
    21 Aug 2015 | 6:34 am
    Earlier this month, I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the ANZSOG 2015 Annual Conference, an intense, two-and-a-half-day forum where top leaders, experts and innovators presented their thoughts, findings and experiences on the topic of Opening Government – Transparency and Engagement in the Information Age. As a personal effort to give thanks for their time and insights, and in the spirit of openness, transparency and engagement they illuminated, here are my collected thoughts and musings from the sessions presented. ANZSOG, the Australian and New Zealand…
  • No Assembly Required

    mheadd
    20 Aug 2015 | 12:07 pm
    When we think about all of the work being done in the civic technology and open government communiti
  • Minister of Public Administration launches iNter@ct

    carolynseepersadbachan
    5 Aug 2015 | 6:56 am
    Ministry launches online forum for Diamond Standard participants Minister of Public Administration,
 
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • Kansas officials rebuff lawsuit seeking voting machine records

    Melissa Yeager
    26 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    (Photo credit: Justin Grimes/Flickr) Voting records, so long as they don’t personally identify the people voting, should be public records to ensure the validity of elections. They provide valuable checks and balances for our electoral process. That’s why we here at the Sunlight Foundation are watching a lawsuit playing out in Kansas involving electronic voting machines. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, R, has asked a judge in Wichita to block the release of voting machine paper tapes from the November 2014 election, according to a report by the Associated Press. Wichita State…
  • White House makes Presidential Innovation Fellows program permanent

    Louis Serino
    25 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    President Obama on extending the PIF program: "These fellows are helping us upgrade the way Americans interact with their government online." Great news for the world of civic tech: Last week, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that makes the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program a permanent staple of the federal government. Operating since 2012, the PIF program recruits engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and other innovators to team up with federal employees, with the goal of improving programs and agencies like a "lean startup." Fellows spend 12 months as "embedded…
  • Twitter shuts down 30 international versions of Politwoops

    Jenn Topper
    24 Aug 2015 | 9:28 am
    Over the weekend, Twitter informed the Open State Foundation that it was suspending API access to all remaining Politwoops sites in 30 countries around the world. In May, Twitter shut down the U.S. version run by the Sunlight Foundation, a deeply disappointing choice that eliminated a genuine tool for public accountability. A statement from the Open State Foundation read: Politwoops began in the Netherlands in 2010 at a hackathon. Since then it has been further developed by Open State Foundation, turning it into a useful tool for journalists and spreading it to 30 countries, from Egypt,…
  • Sunlight joins coalition demanding Congressional Research Service reports be published online

    Zachary Sorenson
    24 Aug 2015 | 8:43 am
    A view inside the Library of Congress, which houses the Congressional Research Service. (Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol/Flickr) In an open letter sent today to the leadership of the House and Senate committees that oversee the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Sunlight Foundation joined a bipartisan coalition of 40 advocacy groups, businesses, nonprofits and think tanks, as well as over 90 scholars, researchers, librarians, activists and private citizens, to support public access to CRS reports. Last year, the CRS wrote more than 1,000 new reports, updated 2,500 more and…
  • OpenGov Voices: Richmond’s new open data portal a good start, but more work needed

    guest author Tom Nash
    23 Aug 2015 | 9:01 pm
    Tom Nash, journalist and FOIA agitator The city of Richmond, Va., recently unveiled an open data portal that gives people access to important data that had long languished in dark corners of its website. Everything from crime data to property records are easily searchable and downloadable, with all sorts of charts and datasets ready to grab. That all sounds fantastic, and it is. More cities, especially mid-size cities like Richmond, should be getting on board with the open data movement. But as a journalist who has now seen two small cities (see Somerville, Mass.) embrace this kind of…
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    Federation Of American Scientists » Secrecy News Blog Posts

  • OLC: President May Withhold WMD Info from Congress

    Steven Aftergood
    26 Aug 2015 | 9:58 am
    Despite an explicit statutory requirement to keep Congress “fully and currently informed” about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the President may withhold proliferation-related information from Congress if he determines that doing so could harm the national security, according to a sweeping opinion from the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that was prepared in 2003. The opinion, written by then-OLC deputy John C. Yoo, was released this week under the Freedom of Information Act. See Presidential Authority to Protect National Security Information,…
  • Security Assistance & Foreign Internal Defense

    Steven Aftergood
    26 Aug 2015 | 9:45 am
    Through its international security assistance programs, the United States advances its foreign policy agenda, exercises influence, sometimes wreaks havoc or abets abusive conduct, and now and then does good things. Security assistance refers to a variety of programs involving arms sales abroad, military training of foreign security services, and other defense-related activities. A new non-profit website called Security Assistance Monitor presents “all publicly available data on U.S. foreign security assistance programs worldwide from 2000 to the present.” It is a project of the…
  • The “Cadillac Tax,” Congress 101, and More from CRS

    Steven Aftergood
    26 Aug 2015 | 9:42 am
    Several new reports from the Congressional Research Service examine the implications of the 40% excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health care coverage, known as the “Cadillac tax,” that will take effect in 2018. Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage: In Brief, August 14, 2015 The Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: Estimated Economic and Market Effects, August 20, 2015 The Excise Tax on High-Cost Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage: Background and Economic Analysis, August 20, 2015 Other newly-updated CRS reports introduce the…
  • Intelligence Agencies Have a “Duty to Warn” Endangered Persons

    Steven Aftergood
    24 Aug 2015 | 5:41 am
    Intelligence agencies that discover a threat to a person’s life or safety are obliged to alert the intended target in most cases as long as they can do so without compromising intelligence sources and methods, a new intelligence community directive instructs. A U.S. intelligence agency “that collects or acquires credible and specific information indicating an impending threat of intentional killing, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping directed at a person or group of people shall have a duty to warn the intended victim or those responsible for protecting the intended victim, as…
  • Intelligence Contractor Oversight, and More from CRS

    Steven Aftergood
    24 Aug 2015 | 5:15 am
    Effective oversight of intelligence community contractors is a particularly difficult exercise since the reliability of official data on contractor activities is uncertain and most of it is classified and inaccessible to outsiders, a new report from the Congressional Research Service explains. “Contractors have been and are an integral part of the intelligence community’s (IC’s) total workforce (which also includes federal employees and military personnel). Yet questions have been raised regarding how they are used, and the size and cost of the contractor component.”…
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    Free Proxy

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    5 Aug 2015 | 7:21 am
    Qu'est-ce qu'un proxy IP ?Un proxy est un programme qui sert d'intermédiaire entre un ordinateur client ...source Les derniers articles publiés sur Proxy Liste de proxy gratuit - Centerblog http://ift.tt/1UnJbua
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    Coding Defined

  • Create Web Note in Microsoft Edge Browser in Windows 10

    Hemant Joshi
    27 Aug 2015 | 10:09 am
    In this post we are going to show you how to create a Web Note using Microsoft Edge in Windows 10. Microsoft Edge has the ability to take Web Note easily without any tool or plugin. Using this feature you can take a Web Note, mark some important sentences or words, highlight something or comment on the captures note. Along with these feature you can also clip a portion of your Web Note into your clipboard.To make a Web Note open Microsoft Edge and just open any website or webpage for example www.codingdefined.com. After opening you will see a tiny button as "Make as Web Note" on right upper…
  • The Software Engineer's Online Handbook - By Toptal

    Hemant Joshi
    26 Aug 2015 | 9:23 am
    In this post we are going to discuss about the software engineer's online handbook provided by Toptal. Toptal has compiled the best free online resources for programmers and engineers in 2015. You do not have to waste your precious development time to search for the links as you will get almost all the important links over here which will benefit you to code easily. According to Toptal, engineers of all experience levels will find great tools for collaboration, open source projects and free tutorials.The Online Resources have been have categorize into 6 categories and they are :1. Free Online…
  • Little about audio element in Html5

    Hemant Joshi
    25 Aug 2015 | 9:09 am
    In this post we are going to discuss about <audio> element in Html5. The <audio> element is useful for embedding an audio player into the web page. It is very similar to Video Element. Along with that you have a Web Audio API which is a pure JavaScript API that supports manipulation of sound samples, sound generation etc.Current Browser Support of Audio ElementExample : <audio controls="controls">    <source src="https://freesound.org/data/previews/320/320451_230160-lq.mp3" type="audio/mp3" /></audio>Same as <video> element, the <audio>…
  • Install Tools for Apache Cordova in Visual Studio 2015

    Hemant Joshi
    24 Aug 2015 | 9:24 am
    In this post we are going to show how to install Apache Cordova in Visual Studio 2015. According to Apache Cordova, it is a platform for building native mobile applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If you are in Windows than developing Apache Cordova applications will be relatively easy if you use Visual Studio. The best part of using Visual Studio is that you can use Intellisense, Syntax Highlighting and Code Peek.At first Go to File and then create new project as shown below.Open the JavaScript Templates inside Installed tab and then click on Apache Cordova Apps as shown below. On…
  • Little about video element in Html5

    Hemant Joshi
    22 Aug 2015 | 11:06 pm
    In this post we are going to discuss about <video> element in Html5. The <video> element in Html5 is properly known as "Flash Killers" because it was designed to replace the Flash objects. Before Html5 we need to use embed the video in a web page using <embed> element but thanks to <video> element of Html5 which makes it a lot easier to embed the video in a web page.Current Browser Support of Video ElementExample :<video width="400" height="300" controls="controls">    <source src="small.mp4" type="video/mp4" /></video>The controls attribute…
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    FOIA Advisor

  • Court opinions issued August 24-25, 2015

    Allan Blutstein
    26 Aug 2015 | 6:44 pm
    August 25, 2015Cause Action v. Fed. Trade Comm'n (D.C. Cir.) -- reversing district court's decision that the last of plaintiff's three requests was moot for purposes of determining its fee status; further clarifying the definition of a "representative of the news media" and ordering district court to evaluate plaintiff's status in light of D.C. Circuit's opinion.  See related article here.    [Note: the author co-represented Cause of Action in this appellate case] Willaman v. Erie Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms (3rd Cir.) -- affirming ATF's determination that…
  • Q&A: requesting expedited processing and waiver of fees

    Allan Blutstein
    26 Aug 2015 | 3:25 pm
    Q.  I recently submitted a FOIA request to the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services.  In its acknowledgment letter, the agency informed me that:  (a) I must follow 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(E)(vi) if I want expedited processing; and (b) I must provide a detailed explanation of how disclosure would benefit the public interest if I want a fee waiver.  How should I handle these two issues?A.  For tips about writing requests for expedited processing and a waiver of fees, you might wish to read the following articles:  (1) Nate Jones, FOIA Tip 15: Writing a Good…
  • FOIA News: NRC found not guilty of FOIA political interference

    Allan Blutstein
    26 Aug 2015 | 12:30 pm
    Agency watchdog finds NRC political appointees didn't interfere with FOIA requestsBy Ryan McDermott, FierceGovernment, Aug. 26, 2015A new audit found that political appointees at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission didn't meddle with or delay responses to Freedom of Information Act requests.Congress requested that the NRC inspector general make sure that political appointees, also known as non-career officials, had not interfered with the FOIA process and inhibited transparency.In its Aug. 18 report (pdf), the IG looked into the involvement of political appointees in the commission's FOIA…
  • FOIA News: As legacy media cuts back on FOIA, digital-only news outlets step in

    Kevin Schmidt
    25 Aug 2015 | 1:57 pm
    As legacy media cuts back on FOIA, digital-only news outlets step inBy Trevor Timm, Columbia Journalism Review, Aug. 25, 2015Ask any journalist and they’ll tell you the Freedom of Information Act process is broken. Denials are at record highs, navigating the bureaucracy can be a nightmare, and the federal agencies recently killed a modest reform bill. But a series of FOIA lawsuits also have just shown how the 50-year-old transparency law can still be indispensable. And absent any change in the law, the best way for news organizations to make sure it stays relevant is to use it…
  • DC Circuit ruling clarifies standards for news media status

    Kevin Schmidt
    25 Aug 2015 | 10:29 am
    Cause of Action v. Federal Trade Commission Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia(No: 1:12-cv-00850) Read the decision here.
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