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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

A rare peek inside the FBI’s internal video-streaming service

Quartz: “Internal FBI documents released last week provide an intriguing peek at its private intranet for agents and other personnel. The system—called BU|NET, an apparent portmanteau of “bureau” and “network”—includes FBI.tv, a homegrown YouTube channel of sorts that includes live commercial programming (Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and the Department of Justice’s in-house legal training network, Justice Television) as well as on-demand offerings like “Active Shooter–Managing the Mass Casualty Threat,” “Advancements in Maritime Intelligence,” “Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation,” and the admittedly unexpected “Bullying in the Workplace.” The documents were obtained by Russ Kick, a researcher and writer who runs AltGov2.org, an online repository of declassified files he has successfully pried loose through the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He learned about FBI.tv only from a tranche of screenshots of the BUNET homepage he received in February…”

USDA’s enforcement of animal welfare laws plummeted in 2018

Washington Post: “Two years ago, the Agriculture Department issued 192 written warnings to breeders, exhibitors and research labs that allegedly violated animal welfare laws, and the agency filed official complaints against 23, according to agency data. This year, those figures plummeted: The department had issued 39 warnings in the first three-quarters of fiscal 2018, and… Continue Reading

FOIA Suits Filed by Nonprofit/Advocacy Groups Double Under Trump

“Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suits filed by nonprofit and advocacy organizations seeking access to federal government records have more than doubled since President Trump assumed office. This sudden burst in FOIA activity is a marked departure from the slower rise that had prevailed during much of the previous two presidential administrations. In FY 2001,… Continue Reading

Records Show DHS Ignored Privacy, First Amendment Threats of Media Monitoring Program

“EPIC has obtained records concerning “Media Monitoring Services,” a controversial DHS project to track journalists, news outlets, and social media accounts. The records, released in EPIC’s FOIA lawsuit against the federal agency, reveal that the DHS bypassed the agency’s own privacy officials and ignored the privacy and First Amendment implications of monitoring the coverage by… Continue Reading

Leaked Google presentation shows company grappling with censorship and free speech

The Verge: “A leaked research presentation [note – the Verge includes a link to the entire presentation posted on Scribd] put together by employees of Google shows the extent to which the search giant is grappling with decisions around freedom of speech and censorship. The presentation, leaked to Breitbart News this week and published in… Continue Reading

POLITICO seeking to identify and trace origins of political disinformation and debunk it

Politico.com: “The term “fake news” has become a cudgel for political leaders trying to discredit reporting, but disinformation – false content created explicitly to deceive or misinform – runs rampant online. Just last week, a study out of George Washington University found that a vast majority of Twitter accounts that spread disinformation in 2016 remained… Continue Reading

Inventor of World Wide Web announces project to restore power and agency of individuals on the web

Tim Berners-Lee – via his company, inrupt: “I’ve always believed the web is for everyone. That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world. But for all the good we’ve achieved, the web has evolved into an engine of inequity… Continue Reading

Office of Legal Counsel Publishes New “Secret Law” Opinions

POGO: “The Justice Department’s little-known but powerful Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has published the titles and text of four previously withheld opinions as part of a larger release of opinions on its website. The release, which occurred on July 5 and has not been reported until now, came after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) appeal from the… Continue Reading

NARA Responds to Controversial ICE Records Destruction Request

Library Journal: “The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has requested that National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Records Management sign off on a records retention schedule that would potentially destroy detainee records in 11 item categories, including accounts of solitary confinement, assault, sexual abuse, and investigations into deaths in ICE custody. Proposed… Continue Reading

Important update about LC Public Access Portal for CRS Reports

Follow up to previous posting – LC Launches Portal for Public Access to Official CRS Reports – with additional pertinent information for researchers Via Steven Aftergood – Secrecy News/FAS: “The Congressional Research Service launched its new public portal this morning, with an initial installment of 628 reports dating back to January of this year. The back… Continue Reading

Internet Archive – Revised wish list now available: 1.5M books we want

“Earlier this year we released our Open Libraries wish list, which brought together four datasets to help inform our collection development priorities for Open Libraries.  After working with the wish list for a few months and reviewing our approach, we decided to make a few revisions to the ways in which we brought together the… Continue Reading

White House’s website deleted the whole archive of its daily newsletters

Quartz: “American citizens can get daily updates on the government directly from the White House’s “1600 Daily” newsletter, which was launched in March 2017. The newsletter shares daily updates from the White House, together with a feed of positive news about Donald Trump’s administration (primarily from conservative outlets supportive of the government, such as Breitbart… Continue Reading