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Category Archives: E-Records

MuckRock launching a national database of FOIA exemptions

Michael MorisyWe’re building an open guide to every state’s public records law – Help track down and fight every public records exemption across the country.

“With agencies increasingly using an array of exemptions to deny access to information, we want to help requesters fight back. We’re launching a project to track every public records exemption in all 50 states – and provide the information needed to successfully overcome times when information is improperly denied. The power of administrative appeals is undeniable: At the federal level, over 40 percent of appeals resulted in rejections being overturned last year, according to FOIA.gov data. But the process is too complicated and weighted in the agencies’ favor – while they see hundreds or thousands of requests, a requester may only file a handfull. So for each type of exemption or rejection, including the use of delays or fees, we’ll collect the information needed to help requesters keep public information public:

  • A description of the rejection.
  • The legal basis for the rejection, including any laws or policies it’s based on.
  • Examples of when it properly and improperly applied.
  • Data on how often we’ve seen the exemption or rejection used, as well as how often we’ve seen it appeal.
  • Sample, tested language that anyone can use to appeal the rejections, as well as other strategies to work around denials of access.
  • It’s an ambitious project: Exemptions are hidden away throughout every state’s laws. But the right to know is a right worth fighting for…”

EFF – FBI Must Not Sidestep Privacy Protections For Massive Collection of Biometric Data

Iris Scans, Palm Prints, Face Recognition Data, and More Collected From Millions of Innocent Citizens – “The FBI, which has created a massive database of biometric information on millions of Americans never involved in a crime, mustn’t be allowed to shield this trove of personal information from Privacy Act rules that let people learn what… Continue Reading

House Homeland Security Report – Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate

June 29, 2016: “Terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have sparked a public debate on the use of encryption in our society because the attackers used encrypted communications to evade detection, a phenomenon known as “going dark.” Today, the Majority Staff of the House Homeland Security Committee released a new report entitled, Going Dark,… Continue Reading

2015 Wiretap Report: Intercept Orders Rise 17 Percent

United States Courts, June 30, 2016: “The number of federal and state wiretaps terminated in 2015 increased nearly 17 percent over 2014, according to an annual report submitted to Congress by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. As in previous years, drug investigations and telephone wiretaps accounted for the large majority of cases. The… Continue Reading

Motherboard – Terrorism Database Used by Governments and Banks Leaked Online

“…Thomson Reuters’ database, called World-Check, is used by over 300 government and intelligence agencies, as well as 49 of the world’s top 50 banks, according to a company fact sheet. World-Check is designed to give insight into financial crime and the people potentially behind it “We monitor over 530 sanction, watch, and regulatory law and… Continue Reading

The National Archives of the US Coloring Book of Patents 2016

“The National Archives of the US Coloring Book of Patents 2016 We’ve chosen some of our favorite patents from our holdings for you to color. We’d love to see how you color them in—share them with us on Twitter by using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and tagging @usnatarchives. These patents came from the Records of the… Continue Reading

IG – Audit Finds Inactive Accounts Within the Department of State’s Active Directory

OIG, U.S. Department of State, Management Assistance Report: Inactive Accounts Within the Department of State’s Active Directory, AUD-IT-16-37, Office of Audits. June 2016. “According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, inactive accounts should be automatically disabled after a defined period of time. The Foreign Affairs Handbook states that Department officials must disable inactive… Continue Reading

GAO Report – FACE Recognition Technology: FBI Should Better Ensure Privacy and Accuracy

ACE Recognition Technology: FBI Should Better Ensure Privacy and Accuracy, GAO-16-267: Published: May 16, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2016. “The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System (NGI-IPS)— a face recognition service that allows law enforcement agencies to search a database of over 30 million… Continue Reading

GAO Report – Managing for Results, Agencies Need to Fully Identify and Report Major Management Challenges

Managing for Results: Agencies Need to Fully Identify and Report Major Management Challenges and Actions to Resolve them in their Agency Performance Plans, GAO-16-510: Published: Jun 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2016. “The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires agencies to describe their major management challenges and identify associated performance information in their… Continue Reading

Freedom of Information Improvement Act passed by House and Senate

Secrecy News – “The House of Representatives yesterday approved the Freedom of Information Act Improvement Act, which had previously been adopted by the Senate. If signed by President Obama, as expected, it will strengthen several provisions of the FOIA and should enhance disclosure of government records. The bill “reaffirms the public’s right to know and… Continue Reading

UK company proposes extensive data mining on renters for landlords benefit

Washington Post – Creepy startup will help landlords, employers and online dates strip-mine intimate data from your Facebook page “…Tenant Assured, is already live: After your would-be landlord sends you a request through the service, you’re required to grant it full access to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Instagram profiles. From there, Tenant Assured scrapes… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court: Policies and Perspectives on Video and Audio Coverage of Appellate Court Proceedings

U.S. Supreme Court: Policies and Perspectives on Video and Audio Coverage of Appellate Court Proceedings, GAO-16-437: Published: Apr 28, 2016. Publicly Released: May 31, 2016 “The U.S. Supreme Court (the Court) posts audio recordings of oral arguments on its website at the end of each argument week, but does not provide video coverage of these… Continue Reading