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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

DHS has FOIA backlog in excess of 50,000 requests

Freedom of Information Act: DHS Needs to Reduce Backlogged Requests and Eliminate Duplicate Processing, GAO-20-209T: Published: Oct 17, 2019. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 2019. “The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to provide the public with access to government records. The Department of Homeland Security continues to receive the largest number of FOIA requests of any federal department or agency, almost 396,000 in FY 2018. DHS’s backlog of unfulfilled FOIA requests almost doubled between 2012 and 2018. But DHS doesn’t have a plan to address this backlog of more than 50,000 requests—which means it will likely continue to struggle with backlogs. DHS also continues to have a duplicative process for FOIA requests for certain immigration files, which slows processing times.”

Court rules FBI surveillance violated Americans’ rights

The Hill – “The secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ruled last year that some FBI surveillance violated the targets’ constitutional rights, the intelligence community revealed Tuesday. The ruling, a rare loss for the government on surveillance matters, found that the FBI may have violated the law, as well as constitutional protections against unreasonable searches, as it searched… Continue Reading

Why America Needs Whistle-Blowers

The New York Times – Opinion – They are not partisans but stewards of our constitutional democracy. By Allison Stanger. Dr. Stanger is the author of “Whistleblowers: Honesty in America From Washington to Trump.” “In accusing the intelligence community whistle-blower of partisanship and treason, President Trump has redefined whistle-blowing to serve his private interests rather… Continue Reading

The U.S. Government Keeps Too Many Secrets

The Atlantic – American officials classify too much information, from the trivial to the politically inconvenient. The overreliance on secrecy invites abuse. “That the U.S. government has a problem with classifying information—the process of identifying and protecting documents and discussions that must be kept secret to preserve national security—was established long before President Donald Trump’s… Continue Reading

Government Agrees to Preserve Records of Talks with Foreign Leaders

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Noah Bookbinder released the following statement: “Following our request yesterday for a temporary restraining order against President Trump and the Executive Office of the President mandating them to preserve records of the president’s communications and meetings with foreign leaders, the government has agreed to preserve… Continue Reading

Brace Yourself for the Internet Impeachment

The New York Times: “The last time America watched an impeachment inquiry, it was largely an analog affair. When the House voted to begin impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton in 1998, only one in four American homes had internet access. AOL and Yahoo were the biggest websites in the world, and “tweet” was a sound… Continue Reading

Congress releases whistleblower complaint alleging Trump abused his office

The New York Times – “After hearing that President Trump tried to persuade Ukraine to investigate a 2020 campaign rival, senior officials at the White House scrambled to “lock down” records of the call, a whistle-blower alleged in an explosive complaint released Thursday. In an attempt to “lock down” all records of the call, in… Continue Reading

Exposing Animal Abusers: Update on the Animal Welfare Blackout

Animal Legal Defense Fund: “In early 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purged tens of thousands of important documents related to animal welfare from the agency’s website. The purged inspection reports documented violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and inhumane treatment of animals in research labs, zoos, circuses, and puppy mills, as… Continue Reading

Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas Scoop Up Personal Data From Scores of Companies

The New York Times –  “The F.B.I. has used secret subpoenas to obtain personal data from far more companies than previously disclosed, newly released documents show. The requests, which the F.B.I. says are critical to its counterterrorism efforts, have raised privacy concerns for years but have been associated mainly with tech companies. Now, records show… Continue Reading

How the Internet Archive is waging war on misinformation

FT.com [this may be paywalled] – “…The archive hopes its repository will help others identify false information and fact-check suspicious content. The emergence of deepfakes — videos that appear to show someone doing or saying something they did not do or say — is a “monster problem”, said Roger Macdonald, director of the organisation’s TV… Continue Reading

Our past on the internet is disappearing before we can make it history

Lapham’s Quarterly – Please, My Digital Archive. It’s Very Sick. “Digital history isn’t history at all—until, without warning, it is. In an age in which any internet user is a creator-in-the-making, reaching a handful of virtual friends or entire corners of the web in a moment’s notice, the line between archive-worthy material and the detritus… Continue Reading