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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

The Supreme Court guards its privacy. Too bad it doesn’t care about yours and mine

Salon: “To use Justice Samuel Alito’s criteria in his recently-leaked draft opinion overruling Roe v. Wade, where is it written in the Constitution that practically everything that happens at the Supreme Court is secret? The answer, my worthies, is that it is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. Secrecy — or, if you will, privacy — at the court is another one of those invented rights Alito and his pals are so fond of yapping about. The secrecy of that august body is almost absolute: Everything that happens at the Supreme Court, with the exception of its hearings and the publication of its decisions, is secret. The court maintains complete secrecy about how and why it chooses which cases to hear. The conferences held by justices during which they decide cases and record their votes is so secret they don’t even allow their clerks inside the doors when they consider the arguments on either side of a case. Most justices demand that their clerks take an oath to keep secret everything they learn while carrying out their jobs.  There are no federal laws which mandate or govern the secrecy enjoyed by the Supreme Court. In fact, whoever leaked the Alito draft opinion cannot even be prosecuted, because he or she broke no law. There is nothing in federal statute or in the Constitution itself, for that matter, which mandates that draft opinions — or any other document produced at the court by the justices or their clerks or anyone else — be kept away from the prying eyes of the press or the public which, by the way, pays the salary of everyone working in that pile of Vermont and Georgia marble located just behind the Capitol…”

ICE ‘now operates as a domestic surveillance agency’

Engadget: “Although it’s supposed to be restricted by surveillance rules at local, state and federal levels, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has built up a mass surveillance system that includes details on almost all US residents, according to a report from a major think tank. Researchers from Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology said… Continue Reading

National Intelligence Report Shows FBI Warrantlessly Searched Americans’ Data Millions Of Times Last Year

Tech Dirt: “Eight years ago, prompted by the Snowden revelations (and Senator Ron Wyden’s persistent questions), then-National Intelligence Director James Clapper finally provided the public with some insight into the FBI’s warrantless searches of Americans’ data collected (supposedly inadvertently) by the NSA. The report delivered to Sen. Wyden was surprisingly redaction-free. But that didn’t mean… Continue Reading

In the dark – Censored Planet

Seven years, 60 countries, 935 internet shutdowns: How authoritarian regimes found an off switch for dissent: “…Russia is a pioneer in the use of these tools but not an outlier. The technologies it uses are proliferating, creeping into internet infrastructure all over the world, helped by multinational companies that have turned censorship into an off-the-shelf… Continue Reading

Trump’s Chief of Staff – texts track effort to overturn election 2022

“CNN has obtained 2,319 text messages that former President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sent and received between Election Day 2020 and President Joe Biden’s January 20, 2021 inauguration. The vast trove of texts, which Meadows selectively provided to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, offers the most revealing… Continue Reading

Libraries around the world are helping safeguard Ukrainian books and culture

Via LLRX – Libraries around the world are helping safeguard Ukrainian books and culture – Ksenya Kiebuzinski, Slavic Resources Coordinator, and Head, Petro Jacyk Resource Centre, University of Toronto Libraries, University of Toronto tells us about the critical work of 1,000 volunteers, in partnership with universities in Canada and the United States, who are participating in… Continue Reading

Propaganda, Mis- and Disinformation, and Censorship: The War for Hearts and Minds

how to save the world – Dave Pollard: “…But perhaps equally-important in this century are the non-military wars battling for the “hearts and minds” of citizens — fights over votes, seats, laws, ideologies and tax dollars rather than land. It is hard to deny, for example, that the US is engaged in a so-far-non-military civil… Continue Reading

Book banning efforts are inspiring readers to form banned book clubs

CNN: “Book banning — or at least, book banning attempts — appears to be having a resurgence. The American Library Association recorded 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2021, the most since the organization began tracking those attempts in 2000. While that might seem low overall considering the approximately 99,000… Continue Reading

Ukrainian libraries respond to Russian invasion in surprising and heartbreaking ways

Berkeley Library – ‘Islands of hope’: Ukrainian libraries respond to Russian invasion in surprising and heartbreaking ways — here’s how – “Thousands of miles from UC Berkeley, in libraries across Ukraine, the squeak of shifted chairs has been replaced by the blare of air raid sirens, and the distant rattle of old pipes by the… Continue Reading

Urban League’s dire democracy warning

Axios: “The National Urban League’s 2022 “State of Black America” report warns of a systematic effort to “disenfranchise, delude, manipulate and intimidate American voters,” Axios’ Russell Contreras writes. “[T]here’s a plot to destroy American democracy,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial told reporters on a call ahead of today’s release of the annual… Continue Reading

1950 Census data to be unveiled Friday, after 72 years under wraps

Washington Post: “On April 1, 1950, an army of 140,000 census enumerators, equipped with fountain pens and government forms, started fanning out across the country to paint a portrait of the United States. Knocking on doors, asking questions about marriage, divorce, race and income, they gathered the personal details of life for 151 million Americans… Continue Reading

Elections Guide for Investigative Reporters: Introduction

Global Investigative Journalism Network: Editor’s Note: This is the introductory chapter of a new, five-part GIJN guide to investigating elections that will be serialized over the coming month. Look for the second installment, “Chapter 1: New Election-Digging Tools,” next week. Elections around the world face increasingly common threats, including disinformation campaigns, foreign interference, voter suppression, rising… Continue Reading