FOIA

Blurred Boundaries: When Copyright and FOIA Collide

Technology has given citizens the ability to interact with government information in a way never before possible. Some exploit this data for commercial gain; others use new analysis techniques to uncover layers of meaning previously unrecognized; still others collate and publish government records to simplify access for everyone else. But what happens when there is an assertion that vital government records are subject to copyright restrictions?

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Metadata Surveillance, Secrecy, and Political Liberty (Part Two)

(This is the second part of a two-part post. In Part One, Bryce Newell examined the implications of government collection and analysis of metadata relating to electronic communications. Today, Bryce picks up from where he left off, considering the implications of government surveillance under different conceptions of freedom.)

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Metadata Surveillance, Secrecy, and Political Liberty (Part One)

(Following on from Rebekah Bradway's post last week regarding government-created metadata as public records, we are pleased to present a two-part post from Bryce Newell on the role of metadata in government surveillance. -- Ed.)

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Metadata as a Public Record: What it Means, What it Does

The failure to comply with a records request for email metadata will cost a Washington city more than half a million dollars in statutory and attorney's fees, a Washington Superior Court judge recently decided.

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A Response to Sandy Hook: Privacy Trumps Transparency in New Connecticut Bill

At a time when citizens increasingly call for government transparency, the Connecticut legislature recently passed a bill to withhold graphic information depicting homicides from the public in response to records from last December's devastation at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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"Newsgathering in Massachusetts" Guide Now Available Online!

The Journal News Fallout: Limiting the First Amendment to Protect the Second

The 'Mugshot Racket' II: A Commercial Purpose Exemption?

When Tim Donnelly, a 26-year-old job seeker, Googled his name recently he found that the first link provided was that to a mugshot of him taken seven years ago. He got into a fight as a teenager and was arrested for criminal trespass and assault. According to Donnelly, the trespass charge was dismissed and the assault charge was downgraded to disorderly conduct.

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Policing Political Speech or Just Sex Under the Magnolia Tree?

In response to local Occupy protests, Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said in October that “we don’t have the resources to go out and, in effect, babysit protesters.” But as the Nashville Scene recently reported, that’s exactly what pol

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The 'Mugshot Racket': Paying to Keep Public Records Less Public

It used to be that mugshots were kept well out of the view.  Despite being public records in many states, walls of bureaucracy and simple physical inaccessibility (due to the photos being locked in a police station somewhere) kept them largely out of the public eye.

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Keeping 911 Recordings Public and Online

When a grizzly bear mauled bicyclist Petra Davis two years ago in an Anchorage park, she called 911 from her cell phone, barely able to speak: "Please help ... bear," she struggled to say. "I can't talk." A fellow biker quickly came to her rescue, grabbing her cell phone and calling again for help: "I have a young girl here who was mauled by a bear and who is in pretty bad shape," Peter Bassinger told the operator.

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The Catsouras Photos: Will a Family's Privacy Interest Impede Press Access?

The tragic story of Nikki Catsouras continues. I considered not giving yet more attention to the horrific accident photos she is now most known for, but the case still elicits a great deal of emotion and for that very reason it's important to address the law that is being decided in California. 

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FOIA Ombudsman Moves One Step Closer to Reality

Last month, we reported that President Obama had begun making good on his promise of reinvigorating the federal Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA").  One of the first tangible steps involved Attorney General Eric Holder instructing government a

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Attorney General Holder Puts Freedom Back In FOIA

Making good on President Obama's early prioritizing of the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), Attorney General Eric Holder officially instructed government agencies to favor release of documents to the public.  CBS New

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Citizen Journalist's Guide to Open Government

J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism at American University's School of Communication, just announced the launch of "The Citizen Journalist’s Guide to Open Government," an extensive multimedia module to help citizen media creators understan

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Obama Moves Quickly to Increase Government Transparency

Well, that was quick.  Just a day into his new administration, President Obama issued a pair of memos and an executive order all aimed at increasing government openness.  The Washington Post reports:

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