Appellate Court Sides With BGA Over Chicago Officials’ Public Communications on Private Accounts

Public officials’ private email and text accounts are subject to disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, the Illinois 1st District Appellate Court ruled on Wednesday, upholding a circuit judge’s ruling in a Better Government Association lawsuit against the city of Chicago. “Allowing public officials to shield information from the public’s view merely by…


Activist Sues Chicago Public Schools For Records Of Troy LaRaviere’s Ouster

A local activist has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools, claiming the District has dodged Freedom of Information Act requests for records related to the ouster of former Blaine Elementary School Principal Troy LaRaviere.

“Government agencies stonewall the public because they think they can get away with it. They can't,” said Nick Burt, the plaintiff in the suit. “If CPS is terminating educators because they are critical of the mayor's wasteful and ineffective school privatization agenda, the public has the right to know.”


OpenGrid: Conquer Chicago’s mountain of data with this powerful tool

Chicago just launched a new website called OpenGrid, which is the city’s attempt at parsing the avalanche of data it’s been collecting for the past five years.

OpenGrid is a more usable evolution of the city’s Data Portal, a bare-bones website that hosts all of the publicly available information, which includes everything from building permits to noise complaints to city employee salaries (surprise: this is the most popular data set).


4 Major Takeaways From Chicago’s Open Data Strategy

If you’re looking for a city government with a solid open data strategy, the nation’s third-largest city is a good model to look at for best practices. In a recent workshop, Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology encouraged business owners and other residents to explore and play around with the city’s open data portal.


City hall emails show trail to top Emanuel aides

Senior members of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration received and sent emails about the video of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald long before the mayor said he was fully briefed, emails obtained by NBC5 News show.

The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and show that the mayor’s chief of staff, deputy chief of staff and top press aides were included in email chains.


District 86 shows several people security tape kept from the public

For more than six weeks, the encounter between a Hinsdale High School District 86 Board member and a Hinsdale South High School student has generated a lot of controversy and comments at board meetings.

The district has a recording of the March 12 incident, made by a security camera outside Hinsdale South, but it has not released it to the public or the press.


Lawsuit demands information on use of covert cellphone trackers in Cook County criminal cases

Cook County prosecutors are being sued to provide records of criminal cases that have involved the use of covert cellphone tracking systems — devices that have drawn the scrutiny of the U.S. Senate and privacy activists.

Freddy Martinez, a Chicago-area resident in the software industry, brought the lawsuit Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, saying the state’s attorney’s office didn’t respond to his efforts to obtain the information through the state’s Freedom of Information Act.


Denied FOIA requests shed light on phone trackers

Chicago resident and political activist Freddy Martinez filed a second lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department in September for not responding to his Freedom of Information Act requests about how police are using cell phone trackers.

Across the country, citizens have growing concerns about the possibility of technology being used by law enforcement to invade their privacy. When pressed for more information about how law enforcement could be using potentially invasive technology, city officials have denied the requests of Martinez and other residents.