National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

The Stranger Editorial: Why We Are Calling for an Audit of Private E-mail Use at the City (of Seattle)

City employees in the mayor’s office and possibly the City Council appear to be conducting government business on private e-mail accounts and failing to disclose these communications through public records requests, so we’re doing something about it. Earlier this month we signed onto a letter calling for an audit examining the use of private e-mails […]

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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s top staffers used private email accounts to talk head-tax strategy

Four of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s staffers used private email accounts when planning with political consultants what to do immediately after the City Council reversed course on a controversial business head tax to raise money for housing and homelessness services, according to records released Friday to The Seattle Times. The June 11 messages — shared via Gmail […]

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Seattle’s secret meetings are creating more suspicion than progress

I see the folks down at City Hall are again in the news for meeting in secret. The latest is when the City Council, at the behest of Mayor Jenny Durkan, suddenly realized that their unanimously passed head tax was in fact pretty much unanimously loathed. So rather than convene to consider what to do […]

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City of Seattle’s Open Data Program releases its 2016 Annual Report and 2017 Open Data Plan

Today the Seattle Open Data Program has published its 2016 Annual Report as well as its 2017 Open Data Plan. As this is the first time the City has released either of these publications, it marks an important step forward in the maturation of our Open Data Program.

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Seattle Civic Tech: Hacking Government Bureaucracy One App at a Time

The easiest way to explain civic technology? Open up the OneBusAway app on your smartphone.

OneBusAway gives users real-time transit info. So, the next time you’re at the bus stop wondering how long you need to wait, you can just tap the OneBusAway app and it will tell you the number of minutes accurately and instantaneously.

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Washington: Group pushing for public records, more police accountability

When the Center for Open Policing recently reached a settlement with the city of Seattle that garnered it more than $30,000 and access to GPS data on the location of police vehicles, it was the latest in a string of legal victories for the shoestring organization.

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Hacking the housing market: Tech teams use open data to help people find affordable homes

Phrases like “housing vouchers” and “senior accessibility” aren’t commonly heard at a weekend hackfest. But those words were the focus of one of Seattle’s largest open data hackathons ever — a unique event hosted by Zillow and the University of Washington this weekend.

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State government asked to provide nearly every email ever sent

Open government experts say he's asking for the impossible. Tim Clemans, a local computer programmer, has requested almost every email from every state agency ever sent, which some fear could push the public records act to the breaking point.

Email is one of the main ways state government workers communicate. Clemans wants the public to have access to the messages those workers send.

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Seattle Police Held a Hackathon to Figure Out How to Redact Body Cam Video Streams

Along with police departments in New York City and Los Angeles, Seattle police are preparing to test body cams on officers in the field. In an attempt to find a balance between releasing footage and redacting private details, Seattle police held a hackathon of Friday.

Discussion around whether law enforcement agents should wear body cams has surged in the months since the shooting of Michael Brown. And as funding comes through for pilot programs, it's increasingly important to answer question about how these devices will be implemented.

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Judge: Liquor board broke open meetings law

SEATTLE — The Washington Liquor Control Board broke the state's open public meetings law 17 times as it began working on rules for the recreational marijuana industry, a judge ruled.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller issued the ruling Friday in a case brought by Arthur West, a critic of the legal pot law. The judge said that although the board broke the law, it didn't take any actions at the meetings that would warrant throwing out the marijuana rules it eventually adopted.

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