NFOIC’s FOI Friday for November 25, 2011 — on Wednesday, November 23

True, it's not Friday (at least at the time of this posting), but Friday (in some circles) being a state of mind, and freedom of information a right at all times, allow us to post this week's FOI Friday on this Wednesday.

And, while we're at it, Happy Thanksgiving!

Below, per usual, a few items selected from many of interest that we might not have drawn attention to earlier:

Treasury Dept. gives FOIA a technology makeover

The U.S. Department of Treasury is leveraging cloud computing to make it easier for the department to handle Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, as well as for people to submit them.

The move is one of a host of efforts to expedite FOIA requests as agencies in the Obama administration try to make government information more accessible.

Visit InformationWeek for the rest.

Pentagon releases new Guantanamo court regulation

In an effort to address calls for transparency as the trials of accused terrorists again start to move forward at Guantanamo Bay, the Department of Defense has released an updated version of its military commission regulation with new commitments to speed up and open up the way court filings are made available to the public.


Visit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for the rest.

Global studies highlight U.S. transparency strengths, weaknesses

Several recently published studies compare the policy and practice of transparency in the United States and other countries. Such studies provide useful measures of U.S. openness relative to real-world conditions, in addition to highlighting global best practices and alternative approaches. The U.S. ranked in the middle range in the studies, demonstrating how other countries have met the challenges of 21st-century transparency while the U.S. has lagged in some areas.

Visit OMB Watch for the rest.

ACLU requests public records from UC Davis and Chancellor Katehi

More than 1,000 students and faculty members met in the main quad at UC Davis on Monday to hear Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi apologize for a now-infamous incident in which students were aggressively pepper strayed by campus police officers. Hours before meeting in the quad, the ACLU of Northern California released a copy of a letter sent to Katehi requesting documents and informing her they are launching an investigation against the university for the actions of its campus police.

Visit Colorlines for the rest.

Cambridge flouts public records law by denying settlement release

According to the Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law provided by Secretary of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin, settlement agreements are not exempt under the Public Records Law.

Jeff Pyle, a partner in Prince Lobel’s Media Law Practice Group who also advises newspapers as part of the New England Newspaper and Press Association, … said the city’s position is “absolutely meritless” and “completely erroneous under Public Records Law.”

Visit Wicked Local Cambridge for the rest.

Adoption trial to proceed in public

The public and news media will be allowed access to the trial and records involving the case of a woman who sent her adopted Russian child back to his home country last year, a judge ruled Monday.


The motion to intervene was brought by the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, The Tennessean, the Tennessee Press Association, the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, Inc., the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, WKRN News 2, and WSMV Channel 4.

Visit Shelbyville Times-Gazette for the rest.