Document requesters used the Freedom of Information Act in record numbers in fiscal 2016, but agency offices still managed to reduce the long-standing backlog, according to the latest annual report from the Justice Department.
FOIA offices governmentwide received a record high of 788,769 requests, a 10.6 percent increase over the previous year, Justice’s Office of Information Policy reported on Wednesday. Requests have marched steadily upward since 2009, with a slight dip in fiscal 2015.
Read More… from From GovExec: FOIA Requests Hit Record High, Processing Improves
The Department of Homeland Security released its annual FOIA report for 2016. Acting Chief FOIA Officer Jonathan R. Cantor said in the report that DHS receives more FOIA requests than any other department, accounting for 40% of all FOIA requests made across the federal government. The bulk of these requests are made to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Cantor also said that DHS's sizeable FOIA backlog has reduced despite an increase in requests.
Read More… from Department of Homeland Security releases annual FOIA report – Backlog down as requests increase
It's no longer a secret that police have conducted surveillance on activists involved in the Movement for Black Lives. Increasingly, these activists say they want to know exactly what's in the files the government may be keeping on them.
Read More… from Civil rights group sues the federal government over the surveillance of black activists
From Courthouse News Service: MANHATTAN (CN) – Two New York Times reporters sued the Department of Homeland Security for records on their interrogations at JFK Airport this year.
The DHS claims the records do not exist, though one reporter claims his interview was entered on a computer.
Mac William Bishop and Christopher Chivers sued the Department of Homeland Security in Federal Court.
Both filed FOIA requests for information about their questioning at the airport; both were brushed off.
Read More… from Homeland Security stiffs Times reporters
From The Washington Post: WASHINGTON — A Washington newspaper has asked a federal judge to force the Coast Guard to return any documents and copies of records it seized from a reporter while searching her home last summer as part of a gun investigation involving her husband.
Read More… from Newspaper goes to fed court over reporter’s notes
From Courthouse News Service: SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Immigration officials will no longer fight a lawyer who claimed that quality representation hinged on accessing the notes asylum officers took on his clients.
Read More… from FOIA suit ends happily for immigration lawyer
From Courthouse News Service: (CN) – After stonewalling demands about its plans to monitor social media, the Department of Homeland Security owes $30,000 in attorneys’ fees, a federal judge ruled.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said Homeland Security announced plans to monitor social media sites in February 2011.
Read More… from Social media monitoring secrecy will cost feds
From The Washington Times: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must disclose its plans for a so-called Internet “kill switch,” a federal court ruled on Tuesday.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the agency’s arguments that its protocols surrounding an Internet kill switch were exempt from public disclosure and ordered the agency to release the records in 30 days. However, the court left the door open for the agency to appeal the ruling.
Read More… from Homeland Security must disclose ‘Internet Kill Switch,’ court rules
From Wired: A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Friday ordered the government to promptly start releasing thousands of pages of Secret Service documents about the late activist and coder Aaron Swartz, following months of roadblocks and delays.
Read More… from Judge orders U.S. to release Aaron Swartz Secret Service file