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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

Trump’s unofficial ‘filing system’ – tearing up WH documents requiring preservation

Politico: “…Under the Presidential Records Act, the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails and papers that the president touches, sending them to the National Archives for safekeeping as historical records. But White House aides realized early on that they were unable to stop Trump from ripping up paper after he was done with it and throwing it in the trash or on the floor, according to people familiar with the practice. Instead, they chose to clean it up for him, in order to make sure that the president wasn’t violating the law. Staffers had the fragments of paper collected from the Oval Office as well as the private residence and send it over to records management across the street from the White House for [records management analyst Solomon] Lartey and his colleagues to reassemble.

“We got Scotch tape, the clear kind,” Lartey recalled in an interview. “You found pieces and taped them back together and then you gave it back to the supervisor.” The restored papers would then be sent to the National Archives to be properly filed away….“I had a letter from Schumer — he tore it up,” he said. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”

Removal of 26 Documents for Asylum Officer Training from the USCIS Website

Sunlight Foundation: “The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) removed a cache of materials on its asylum process shortly after President Donald Trump took office, a reduction in access detailed in our latest Web Integrity Project report. The 26 removed documents, which collectively run to several hundred pages, constitute training materials for USCIS asylum officers,… Continue Reading

TIME magazine cover story – How Baby Boomers Broke America

Steven Brill – How My Generation Broke America [Brill is the author of Tailspin, from which this article is adapted, out this month from Alfred A. Knopf.] This appears in the May 28, 2018 issue of TIME: “Lately, most Americans, regardless of their political leanings, have been asking themselves some version of the same question:… Continue Reading

CFPB techies blast talk of taking down complaint portal

FCW.com: “…Created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of the first federal examples of bringing in outside tech talent to deliver government services. “If you’re going to build a government agency from scratch, you’re going to get the chance to do things differently,” one former CFPB senior official told… Continue Reading

Report to Archivist of the United States 2018 FOIA Act

National Archives and Records Administration 2016-2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee Final Report and Recommendations –  April 17, 2018. “During the 2016-2018 term, the Committee formed three subcommittees to examine specific areas in which federal agencies could implement initiatives to improve proactive disclosures, FOIA searches, and the efficient use of agency FOIA resources.… Continue Reading

ODNI Releases Annual Intelligence Community Transparency Report

May 4, 2018 News Release: “Today, consistent with the USA FREEDOM Act and the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (the reauthorized FAA) requirements to release certain statistics (codified in 50 U.S.C.§ 1873(b)) and the Intelligence Community’s Principles of Intelligence Transparency, we are releasing our fifth annual Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security… Continue Reading

Activists request that government disable Gmail’s new ‘Self Destruct’ feature

Gmail’s ‘Self Destruct’ Feature Will Probably Be Used to Illegally Destroy –  Government Records Activists have asked Google to disable the feature on government accounts. “A new update rolling out for Gmail offers a “self destruct” feature that allows users to send messages that expire after a set amount of time. While this may sound… Continue Reading

Report – Media freedom in US under threat

The IFEX network of organisations – defending and promoting free express: “The United States media – one of the best protected in the world – is facing challenges that threaten the freedom of the press. This is the finding of an unprecedented press freedom mission that took place in January 2018, one year after President… Continue Reading

200,000 Volunteers Have Become the Fact Checkers of the Internet

NexrGov: The creation process of Wikipedia is largely transparent – “Founded in 2001, Wikipedia is on the verge of adulthood. It’s the world’s fifth-most popular website, with 46 million articles in 300 languages, while having less than 300 full-time employees. What makes it successful is the 200,000 volunteers who create it, said Katherine Maher, the… Continue Reading

National Archives publishes online dashboard of its investigations into lost, altered or destroyed public records

Sunlight Foundation: “To engage in a monumental understatement, it’s a big deal for the public’s information to be altered or disposed of without justified intention and public notice of the removal. In spring 2018, for the first time the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) has begun using the Internet to inform the American public… Continue Reading

Public access to CFPB Consumer Complaint Database may end according to Mulvaney

The New York Times: “Financial companies have worked to diminish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s powers since the day the agency was created. Now, they’re on the brink of having one of their top demands granted: an end to the regulator’s public database of complaints about their products and services. Since 2011, the bureau has… Continue Reading

EPIC Sues FTC for Release of Facebook’s Audits

“EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to obtain the release of the unredacted Facebook Assessments from the FTC. The FTC Consent Order. required Facebook to provide to the FTC biennial assessments conducted by an independent auditor. In March, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the 2013, 2015, 2017 Facebook… Continue Reading