FOI Advocate Blog

The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit http://foiadvocate.blogspot.com/.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 28, 2015 12:21 PM

As a part of the United States’ Second Open Government National Action Plan commitment to further modernize FOIA, in 2014 OIP launched the Best Practices Workshop series as a way to share and leverage successes in FOIA administration across the government. Today we are announcing details for the second slate of topics and workshops in this series.

Each workshop in the series focuses on a specific topical area and will include a panel of representatives that will share their success stories and strategies. For example, some of the topics covered in the first series of workshops included panels on reducing backlogs, proactive disclosures, and implementing technology in FOIA administration. Continue>>>

======

July 22, 2015 3:47 PM

The Justice Department has no current position on whether first requesters should get a priority look at the documents released before they are made available to the public under a planned “release to one, release to all” policy, according to Melanie Ann Pustay, Director of the Office of Information Policy at the Justice Department.

The timing issue popped up quickly as a hot button topic for scoop-jealous journalists after Justice announced its pilot program to assess the value and costs of more online disclosure of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. (See previous FreedomInfo.org article.) The timing of such online releases will be examined as part of the pilot program being conducted at seven agencies, Pustay said in written answers to questions submitted by FreedomInfo.org.  Continue>>>

======

July 21, 2015 8:48 AM

LOS ANGELES — When the reporter Jason Leopold gets ready to take on the United States government, he psychs himself up by listening to the heavy metal bands Slayer and Pantera.

Mr. Leopold describes himself as “a pretty rageful guy.” He argued recently with staff members at his son’s preschool because he objected to their references to “Indians” and they objected to his wearing family-unfriendly punk rock T-shirts to school meetings.  Continue>>>

======

July 17, 2015 2:25 PM

WHEN THE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER Laura Poitras filed a complaint under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against three US government agencies this week, most media outlets ran stories on the details that built her argument, overlooking the issue of public records.

After all, who could resist the story of a bitter and burned federal government hounding a journalist who appeared to have crossed some unspoken line? More than 50 times between 2006 and 2012, her lawsuit alleges, security forces targeted the journalist for intense rounds of detention and questioning. Government officials had, at one point, even confiscated her laptop, cellphone, and notebooks. Continue>>>

======

July 16, 2015 12:29 PM

JOLIET – Joliet Junior College officials and their attorneys are reviewing a decision from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office that says the college partially violated a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by The Herald-News.

The Herald-News in May requested under the state’s FOIA law a letter JJC Police Chief Pete Comanda sent to the Board of Trustees on July 4, 2013, as well as responses to that letter from past Board Chairman Andrew Mihelich and employees with Robbins Schwartz, the college’s attorneys.  Continue>>>

======

 

July 14, 2015 11:36 AM

It didn't take long for journalists to criticize the flaw -- for them -- in the federal government's new pilot program on making public all responses to Freedom of Information Act requests. It didn't take much longer for open government advocates to suggest the reporters were putting their interests ahead of the public's.

"Get this," tweeted Erik Wemple, media critic at The Washington Post. "Federal government is implementing a FOIA reform that could actually hurt journos."  Continue>>>

======

July 8, 2015 9:36 AM

With the launch of the openFOIA website last month, the National Archives and Records Administration has laid out what information requesters and Freedom of Information Act office workers can get from the three main FOIA-related federal websites.

General Service's Administration's 18F released the openFOIA website to give requesters a central location to learn how to make FOIA requests to any of the 100 federal departments and agencies that process public requests for records.  Continue>>>

======

July 7, 2015 9:32 AM

Freedom of Information Act requests often take agencies months to fulfill, by which time some requesters from the media or advocacy groups may have moved on to other pursuits.

The Justice Department on July 2 issued new guidance aimed at improving the procedure known as a “still interested” inquiry, through which a FOIA officer can confirm that the requester has not lost interest in obtaining the documents.  Continue>>>

======

July 2, 2015 9:26 AM

If there's something you want to know and it's considered public record, getting the information is now easier and cheaper than ever.

Significant revisions to Michigan's Freedom of Information Act went into full effect today.  Continue>>>

======

 
July 1, 2015 9:26 AM

(CN) - Two professors are entitled to lower processing fees for a public records request because its purpose is educational and journalistic, a federal judge ruled.

Syracuse University professors Susan Long and David Burnham filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in November 2013, seeking electronic data from the ICE database. Long and Burnham's request was filed on behalf of Syracuse's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC.  Continue>>>

======

July 1, 2015 9:11 AM

The D.C. Council insisted in the Budget Support Act passed June 30 that police body-worn camera video be subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

It refused to give the Metropolitan Police Department and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser what they wanted, a statute declaring that BWC videos are not public records and cannot be requested under the FOI Act. It also refused to give in to dire claims that it will cost $1.5 million annually to process FOIA requests for BWC video and to redact recordings to protect personal privacy and law enforcement investigations.  Continue>>>

======

June 26, 2015 9:46 AM

BRIDGEPORT — If elected City Council members want information from Mayor Bill Finch’s administration, they can always do what John and Jane Q Public does — file a Freedom of Information request and get in line.

That can mean waiting weeks and sometimes months for the data.

That was one of the recommendations City Attorney Mark Anastasi made in a four-page response to renewed efforts by Councilman Enrique Torres, R-130, to try and force agency heads to be more responsive to individual council member requests.  Continue>>>

======

Syndicate content