Volume 1, Issue 11

FOI InSight, an open government newsletter
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FOI InSight is a publication from the National Freedom of Information Coalition featuring and aggregating news and analysis about FOI and open government issues, and delivering items of interest to and about our state member organizations, partners and stakeholders. 

We welcome suggestions for future newsletters and our FOIA Events Calendar, and ask that you send us ideas for and links to news about your organization and other FOI and open government-related items and events.



 InSight HighLights 

NSA collects phone records, user data of millions of civilians

The National Security Agency is collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon and has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants. Open government groups have expressed outrage and demanded more answers regarding the FISA-court authorized government surveillance.  Continue …


Pressure makes Capitol backtrack on gutting California Public Records Act

You don't normally see politicians who are firmly planted in their positions suddenly do acrobatic 180-degree turns. But last week was very abnormal in California's Capitol. Odds are what happened won't be repeated for a long while.  Continue …



 Members in the News 

Jonathan Jones named director of North Carolina Open Government Coalition

Jonathan D. Jones, currently an assistant district attorney for Durham County, will become director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and Sunshine Center in mid-August. He also will teach courses in Elon University’s School of Communications. Continue …



Florida First Amendment Foundation Sunshine Report

Florida First Amendment Foundation published its latest Sunshine Report. This issue includes: More sunshine law exemptions, but also some progress – our 2013 legislative session final report, A full agenda at this year's freedom of information summit, State legislator Mike Fasano wins 2012 Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award, First Amendment Foundation and SPJ-South Florida sponsor series of columns, Your Right to Know – in the news, and more. Continue …



NEFAC releases open government publication for June

The New England First Amendment Coalition published its latest open government newsletter. In this issue: These Are Rough Times for Government Transparency in CT, AG Balks at Sharing Report on RI Inmate's Suicide with Family, MA Town Gets Little Info from State on Casino Plan, and Newsletter Sues Private VT Prison Firm for Public Records Access.  Continue …



Ohio groups push positive public records reforms

When Ohio’s current open records statute became law, it was seen as nationwide model in many respects. That’s no longer the case due to a combination of problematic court decisions and the phenomenon known by the cliché “death by a thousand cuts.” The Ohio Newspaper Association has begun pushing four suggestions to improve Ohio’s open records laws. Continue …



Citizen Advocacy Center (Illinois) names community lawyer Maryam Judar new executive director

The Citizen Advocacy Center (Center) is proud to announce that its current community lawyer, Maryam Judar (left), has been promoted to executive director. Maryam Judar has been a Center community lawyer for four years and has empowered dozens of individuals and community groups to use various laws and civic skills to advocate for greater accountability of government entities. Continue …



Secrecy sparks dispute

The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is being challenged by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and others for using file-hosting services to exchange documents with government officials, which shields their discussions from public view, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. ALEC, which writes legislation for state governments, also claims that its materials are not subject to Wisconsin’s open records law. Continue …



 Analysis & Commentary 

Mark Pitsch: Office flap just latest attack on free flow of information

The state’s Republican-led budget committee may have done no greater favor for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism than voting to evict it from two tiny offices in UW-Madison’s Vilas Hall. Continue …


Chris Conybeare: Independent media council, self-regulation should be supported

The World Association of Press Councils (WAPC) believes that freedom of communication is a basic human right. This includes freedom of the media in reporting the news. It also includes the right of the public to be informed on all matters of public interest. Continue …


Peter Scheer: The connection between drone strikes and massive government surveillance programs

First came news accounts of the government’s use of armed drones in the targeted killing of terrorists abroad. Then came the revelations about government surveillance programs, breathtaking in their scale, tapping into data on phone calls, emails, internet searches and more. These activities are, in fact, linked. Continue …



 News from the States 

State FOIA Friday

See the latest State FOIA Friday for FOI and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. The latest issue includes: Advocates, journalists honored for supporting open government … N.J. Legislature OKs bill allowing Bergen, five other counties to avoid publishing full text of ordinances in newspapers … FOI unearths St. Vincent draft proposal for UAMS combine … City to TU: drop Sunshine suit or risk paying court costs … Gainesville supervisor’s FOIA request sparks another round of ‘logo-gate’ … Marshall University, president sued for not honoring FOIA requests … California legislature to reconsider public records bill … Open government Texans deserve … Read more from the latest State FOIA Friday and be sure to check out our archives from Fridays past.



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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