FOI and Open Government News
21 November 2014 - Although the Homeland Security Department pledged three years ago to steadily reduce backlogged Freedom of Information Act requests, the number has risen even higher, congressional investigators said. Continue>>>
21 November 2014 - Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP's bid for documents from the government's probe into alleged foreign bribery by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will likely be trumped by a powerful exemption to the Freedom of Information Act, but experts say the suit ramps up pressure on the retailer to be more transparent with shareholders. Continue>>>
21 November 2014 - The Illinois House has voted to override Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of legislation that allows governments to charge higher fees for large public records requests. Continue>>>
21 November 2014 - The ACLU is filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today for information about a newly revealed Marshals Service program that uses aircraft to suck up location data from tens of thousands of people’s cell phones at a time. Continue>>>
21 November 2014 - A useful filter for evaluating a public policy idea is to ask whether the idea serves the interests of the public or serves the interests of government. Continue>>>
21 November 2014 - So this “lame duck” Congress may not be so lame after all – at least when it comes to increasing government transparency. Continue>>>
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FOI Summit Wrap-up and All Things Summit
Knight FOI Fund
The Knight FOI Fund offers financial support in open government lawsuits, fueling and assisting the pursuit of important FOI cases. The need arose from the realization that the economic crisis and the evolution of the news media has resulted in declining levels of FOI advocacy. Continue > >
Who We Are & What We Do
We are a nonpartisan alliance of state and regional affiliates promoting collaboration, education & advocacy for open government, transparency and freedom of information. We award grants, publish FOI and FOIA news, provide transparency education and support to state and local governments, supply state sample FOIA request letters and Federal FOIA request letters. Continue >>
Held Oct. 23-24 in St. Petersburg, the annual conference showcased ideas and insights on FOI, transparency, open government and open data
Hosted at the incredible Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the FOI summit brought together state and regional affiliate members and experts in an informative series of presentations and discussions. Topics ranged from increased FOI fees, to differentiating between open government and open data, to how to govern the governors when it comes to transparency in their administrations. The annual meeting featured keynote speaker Tom Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University and recognized this year's State Open Government Hall of Fame Inductee John Paff of New Jersey. NFOIC wishes to thank its Platinum Sponsor Bloomberg LP and its co-hosts the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida First Amendment Foundation. Read more...
October 2014 - The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) has been awarded a Knight Prototype Fund grant to create pilot projects aimed at developing open government training modules for public officials and records custodians, particularly in states where open government training is mandated. Continue...
Using a litigation grant from the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Knight FOI Fund, a coalition of news media companies –the Carroll County Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and Scripps Media’s WMAR-TV—successfully challenged the Carroll County (MD) Board of Commissioners under Maryland’s Public Information Act (MPIA).
County commissioners were ordered by a judge to produce all email distribution lists that they use to send messages to select groups of their supporters. The lawsuit began after a February 2013 request to the commissioners by Carroll County Times journalist, Christian Alexandersen, for copies of the commissioners' email distribution lists. Continue>>>
NFOIC’s third biennial joint survey with the New York-based Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) showed a continuation of trends that are troubling to open government advocates. Just as similar informal surveys in 2009 and 2011 had, the 2013 Open Government Survey found a substantial decline over the last two to five years in the amount of resources devoted by media organizations to FOIA and open government issues.
FOLLOWING THE MONEY 2014 - How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data
U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending. Over the past year, new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens’ access to critical spending information.