When copyright and FOI collide, public access often is denied, law article explains

State and local governments increasingly claim copyright protections to deny public access to records and data, and the tension between intellectual property laws and freedom of information laws raises difficult issues, according to an article by Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, which is a partner of the National Freedom…

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When governments bow down to private vendors, they ignore public’s right to know, experts say

Governments in many states are shirking transparency laws and blocking the public’s right to know, choosing instead to protect the intellectual property rights of private vendors.  “This is not a Kansas problem. It’s not an Oregon problem. It’s an everywhere problem,” Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, told KCUR-FM, Kansas…

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NFOIC’s newest member to focus on public access, investigative journalism in Florida

The National Freedom of Information Coalition welcomes its newest member, the Florida Center for Government Accountability.  Barbara A. Petersen, executive director of the Florida Center for Government Accountability, previously served on NFOIC’s Board and as president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation.  Petersen says the new organization will focus on public access and investigative journalism. “The Florida Center…

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Study examines: Does a state constitutional right to know make a difference?

State constitutional rights guaranteeing access to information can’t hurt, and may help, when judges balance the interests of disclosure and privacy.  But there’s little evidence that a constitutional right to access produces better results directly for requesters. That’s, in part, because many variables influence the outcome of a request, particularly the state’s political culture.  Those…

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Police body-camera footage: Too redacted, too costly, too delayed, transparency experts say

Body-cameras, heralded as a technology to enhance police transparency, haven’t done enough to ensure the public’s right to know, because agencies often heavily edit the footage. Not only does such editing obscure the footage, it also adds substantial costs and delays. That’s according to transparency experts and advocates who spoke to the Daily Memphian for…

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Florida clamps down on COVID-19 records, taking a ‘so sue me’ attitude, transparency advocates say

Records requesters seeking information about COVID-19 in Florida face long delays and large fees. “But perhaps more worrisome, we’re often hearing that some agencies will stonewall, fail to respond, and provide nothing, for months,” said Pam Marsh, president of the First Amendment Foundation of Florida. “It’s basically a ‘so sue me’ kind of attitude, daring…

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Deadline draws near for NFOIC’s 2021 Freedom of Information papers

Do you have research in freedom of information that will make a difference? Then submit your proposal to the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s research paper competition for presentation during the 2021 FOI Summit. Top-three papers will earn cash prizes and will be guaranteed publication in the online Journal of Civic Information, published by the…

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NFOIC’s latest research explores transparency in state and local economic development incentives

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information are pleased to announce the publication of NFOIC’s latest research paper, “Invisible Incentives: How Secrecy Impedes Evaluation and Accountability of Economic Development Subsidies.”   Secrecy in economic development spending remains a big challenge for journalists and the public at every level of…

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NFOIC to Expand Collaboration with the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information in Restructuring

October 26, 2020 The National Freedom of Information Coalition will combine forces with the University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information in developing new programs that foster government transparency and serve state coalitions for open government. For the next year, the two organizations will bolster a relationship that has been in place since…

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Join a conversation on police transparency reforms

UPDATE: Watch the a recording June 19, 2020 For Immediate Release Contact: Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director dbevarly@nfoic.org 239.823.1811 The National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information present a conversation about police transparency reforms. The two organizations have called for more public oversight and transparency among the nation’s law enforcement agencies starting with opening every aspect…

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