Must read FOI stories – 6/6/14
- Records show that federal employees spend an average of two hours a day surfing for porn — Wash your hands after you touch these public records.
- How can you get open records from private colleges? Find federal agencies they report to and request records: Internal Harvard report, obtained via FOIA request, shines light on ex-researcher’s misconduct.
- Emails from the National Security Agency show how top officials strategized to withhold records related to Edward Snowden’s leaks.
- California Supreme Court makes landmark ruling: Names of police officers in shootings should usually be public.
- Despite two FOIA lawsuits, the Federal Aviation Administration continues to evade FOIA requests related to government agencies that applied for drone flying waivers.
- Chicago Headline Club (an SPJ chapter) urges Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to veto HB 3796. Adds yet another barrier, in the form of a “Voluminous Requests” exemption, to open records access.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation dukes it out with the Justice Department in court hearings. EFF sued the Justice Department for access to records showing opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which found some of the NSA’s domestic telephone surveillance unconstitutional.
- And a New York Times reporter is also trying to get documents about the U.S. secret surveillance court in his latest FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice.
- Department of Justice brags that it is closer than ever to comply with the Freedom of Information Act. Take a look at some of their “successes.”
- Interesting FOIA obstruction tactic: ACLU requests records from Florida police regarding stingray surveillance and U.S. Marshals swept into the police offices to whisk away records.
- Illinois Supreme Court opens up the state’s attorneys to increased public scrutiny, rules that offices of the state’s attorneys are subject to FOIA.
- Michigan House of Representatives passes bill affirming the confidentiality of gun records and keeps them exempt from FOIA. The bill codifies a 1999 Michigan Supreme Court Decision that gun records disclosure was “a clearly unwarranted invasion of an individual’s privacy.”
- Investigative Reporters & Editors have an awesome FOI podcast, aptly named FOIA Frustrations. You should listen to it.
David Schick is the summer 2014 Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern for SPJ, reporting and researching public records and FOI issues. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or interact on Twitter: @davidcschick
Tags: ACLU, California Supreme Court, Chicago Headline Club, Department of Justice, Edward Snowden, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, federal employees surfing porn, FOIA, HB 3796, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Supreme Court, Michigan House of Representatives, NSA