NFOIC FOI Friday for September 9 2011

A few items selected from many of interest in the last few days.

Court ruling undermines privacy exemption to FOIA

A ruling Tuesday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit could signal the death knell for—or at least the erosion of—a two-decade-old Supreme Court case that has stymied many a Freedom of Information Act request.

Visit Politico for the rest.

ACLU wins round in battle against warrantless cell phone location tracking

The ACLU won a significant victory in our battle to ensure that cell phones don’t become Big Brother tracking devices. Following a four-year fight, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to comply with [their] Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and turn over the names and docket numbers in numerous cases where the government accessed cell phone location data without a warrant.

Visit ACLU for the rest.

DOJ must release records about cellphone location tracking

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held [this week] that the U.S. Department of Justice must release case docket information in certain criminal cases resulting in convictions or guilty pleas.

Visit for the rest.

Closed work groups are just a bad idea

Opinion from Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, a member of NFOIC:

"More voices are being heard. More opinions are being considered. That kind of transparency can be difficult for some to properly conceptualize, as it is a relatively new way of doing business at the government level."

That's what Gov. Bob McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin told Washington Post reporter Anita Kumar when questioned about why the Governor's Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring had used closed-door work groups to come up with the dozens of recommendations announced at its Aug. 31 meeting.

Visit Richmond Times-Dispatch for the rest.

Judge says St. Louis Police Board ignored Sunshine Law and court rulings

ST. LOUIS — Using strong words, a judge ordered Friday that the Board of Police Commissioners release details of the investigation of officers who let family and friends use 2006 World Series tickets confiscated from scalpers.

Visit for the rest.

Voice of the Free Press: Government accountability calls for proper records

The failure to properly maintain public records undermines the whole concept of open government. Public records — especially those that document actions taken by the city's elected officials and civil servants — are a key instrument for citizens seeking to keep their government accountable.

Visit for the rest.