Volume 1, Issue 10

FOI InSight, an open government newsletter
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2013 FOI Summit Wrap-up

While the 2013 FOI Summit in New Orleans is now behind us, we wanted to take a few moments to express our gratitude to everyone who helped to make it possible and to share a few other thoughts and bits of information. Please be sure to visit our 2013 FOI Summit Wrap-up for more post-Summit information and acknowledgements.

This just in: NFOIC in NOLA, from Mike Sherry, board president of NFOIC member Missouri Sunshine Coalition


 Video from the 2013 FOI Summit 

In addition to the 2013 FOI Summit Wrap-up, please see the 2013 FOI Summit Video for all the videos of panels, keynote address and Hall of Fame induction. Videos have been edited for length and continuity.

The Deliberative Process 150 Years Post-Lincoln

Thanks to Oscar-nominated filmmakers and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, moviegoers got a glimpse of back room horse trading that made the 13th Amendment possible. Today, the parameters of privileges and exemptions that allow pre-decisional secrecy, and withholding of unfinished drafts, are frequent topics of debate, even litigation. Can today's worst actors who stretch those limits claim they are standing on the shoulders of giants? How much access does transparent government demand? How much confidential counsel does it permit? Continue …



Not a Picayune Problem

How is the changing news media environment and the gradual reshaping of the newspaper business affecting the use and effectiveness of freedom of information requests and other journalistic efforts on behalf of open and accountable government? Who in the media world are the new vanguards of public information advocacy, and what are their motives? New Orleans provides a microcosm of the nationwide trends taking place at the intersection of changing public media and open records. Continue …



Keynote Presentation

Waldo Jaquith, the award-winning "open government technologist" who developed the White House's Ethics.gov. He is a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation News Challenge Fellow, and the creator of The State Decoded. In 2011, he was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House and, in 2012, the Sunlight Foundation called him an “OpenGov Champion.” Jaquith is credited with developing the Obama administration’s Ethics.gov Web portal, forerunner of Data.gov, a website that makes it easier for people to access high-value, machine-readable datasets produced by the executive branch. Continue …



#OpenGov Hall of Fame Induction

This year’s inductee is Brian Sonntag, who retired earlier this year after serving five terms as the elected State Auditor in Washington state. Sonntag, the 13th individual named for the honor since the Hall's inception in 2003, is only the third elected official ever chosen for the honor. Induction into the State Open Government Hall of Fame recognizes “long and steady effort to preserve and protect the free flow of information about state and local government that is vital to the public in a democracy." Continue …



Digital Dodges and the Email Sleight of Hand

A panel of battle-tested experts discusses best practices and best outcomes when issues related to email and digital communications are legislated or litigated in your state. Are electronic records at least as accessible as paper records would be? Are retention policies adequate, without too much discretion given to records custodians themselves? Is anyone positing the silly notion that communications about government business become private if a sneaky underhanded public official uses his own personal computer or private email account? Continue …



Technology and Access: Promise, Possibility and Perils

In an era when neither unmanned drones nor global positioning devices qualify as futuristic, technological advances have greatly expanded the capacity for access and citizen engagement. But they also give rise to concerns about privacy and other rights infringements. A panel of experts discusses techniques and strategies for getting data and approaches for presenting it in ways that don't risk future access to that data, and also examines whether government policies should take into account what the public wants to do with data or any other public information. Continue …



 Members in the News 

Nominate a New Mexico open government hero!

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is now accepting nominations for the 2013 William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award. Nominations must be received by July 16, 2013. Awards are given in the areas of education, law, government, business and journalism. Continue …



Sunshine Report from the Virginia Coalition for Open Government

Virginia Coalition for Open Government released its online transparency news publication — The Sunshine Report. The May 2013 edition of the Sunshine Report is online with stories about the U.S. Supreme Court's FOIA ruling, a case on cameras in the courtroom, FOIA Council updates and open government news. Continue …




Nominations open for Madison/Andersen Award

Washington Coalition for Open Government is openning nominations for James Madison Award and James Andersen Award. Deadline for sumbitting the nominations is June 30. The 2013 WCOG Madison/Andersen award ceremony will be held the morning of Friday, September 13, 2013. Continue …




 Analysis & Commentary 

Peter Scheer: Real outrage is that surveillance of AP reporters’ phone calls was probably legal

The real outrage about the Justice Department’s use of secret subpoenas for the phone records of Associated Press journalists is that, based on the information that has surfaced to date, it was probably legal. Continue …



NEFAC says Holder should push for shield law, train Justice personnel on subpoenas

The New England First Amendment Coalition registered "extreme dismay" at the government seizure of phone records of The Associated Press and urged Attorney General Eric Holder to work for passage of a federal shield law and take other steps to avert a repeat of the intrusion that was part of a probe into a security leak. Continue …



The National Freedom of Information Coalition protects our right to open government. We are a nonpartisan alliance of citizen-driven nonprofit freedom of information organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys. Twice annually, NFOIC awards grants to strengthen state coalitions and member organizations, foster their growth, and support a broad range of open government endeavors in individual states. The NFOIC also administers the Knight FOI Fund, which offers financial support to defray costs and expenses in open government lawsuits throughout the year.

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