NFOIC's blog

Court rules public business on prosecutor’s private phone is still public

September 12, 2014 9:31 AM

Call records and text messages from Pierce County (WA) Prosecutor Mark Lindquist’s personal mobile phone aren’t private if they’re related to public business.

The idea drives a unanimous ruling issued Tuesday by the Washington State Court of Appeals. “That such government-business-related text messages were contained on a personal cellular phone is irrelevant,” states the ruling, authored by Judge J. Robin Hunt. Read more »

Myersville (pop. 1,678)to adopt Freedom of Information policy

September 12, 2014 9:29 AM

Residents will soon have the option to request town data using Myersville’s Freedom of Information policy. No one has questioned why the Maryland rural western Frederick County town of 1,678 residents did not have a Freedom of Information Act, Town Manager Kristin Aleshire said at Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re just keeping up with the times,” Aleshire said.

Myersville, incorporated in 1904, may adopt a policy that is similar to the Hyattsville FOIA model. “We found it to be a good fit for a smaller town,” Aleshire said. Read more »

Restoring freedom to information in the Freedom of Information Act

September 12, 2014 9:27 AM

Over time federal agencies have flipped the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on its head. Congress clearly intended the FOIA to be a tool for the public to pry information out of federal agencies. In recent years, however, agencies have blatantly abused opaque language in the law to keep records that might be embarrassing out of the public’s hands forever. Read more »

Neighbors frustrated by lack of info on sex offenders

September 12, 2014 9:26 AM

West Seneca NY Assemblyman Michael Kearns is giving the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities 10 more days to respond to his Freedom of Information request, or he says he's taking legal action. Read more »

Editorial: Ferguson City Council needs transparency first, changes second

September 12, 2014 9:24 AM

In confusing public relations with public governance, the Ferguson City Council took one step forward and two steps back this week. On Monday, in advance of a Tuesday night City Council meeting, the public relations firm hired by the city announced that the City Council was “implementing several changes and new programs in response to community concerns.” Read more »

Judge Splits Difference on EPA Cell Phone Records

September 8, 2014 8:15 AM

Libertarians' pursuit of federal officials' text messages may proceed, a federal judge ruled, denying in part the Environmental Protection Agency's motion to dismiss a think tank's claims. Read more »

My mystifying journey into the world of FOIA (part 3)

September 8, 2014 8:13 AM

Late last month, I found myself pleading with a U.S. Army FOIA specialist. How can you have no records for my request? My FOIA request for records of debarred contractor was three months old at this point, and my call to the FOIA Public Liaison (if that's really what he was) had succeeded in prompting some movement by the Army. But this wasn't what I was expecting.

On Aug. 25, I got a letter pronouncing the final word on my May 20 request. No records exist. How could that be possible, I wondered. Read more »

FOIA portal, VistA bid, Army cyber and SANS templates

September 8, 2014 8:11 AM

The federal web development team 18F is building a one-stop portal for requests for government documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The move advances a key goal of the Obama administration's open government action plan -- the creation of a consolidated online FOIA service. Read more »

This Week in Transparency: Shenanigans at the CIA, open-source FOIA reform, and more

September 8, 2014 8:09 AM

Read more »

GUEST VIEW: Open government essential to a democracy

September 8, 2014 8:08 AM

Defending the U.S. Constitution is popular these days, when it centers on gun rights, states’ rights or search and seizure protections.

As we guard the principles of our nation’s founders, let’s not overlook the all-important First Amendment of the Constitution and its guarantee of free speech and free press, which, along with public access to government information, are crucial to our democracy. Read more »

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