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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

EPIC Uncovers DOD Student Recruiting Database Privacy Protections

“The Department of Defense has released to EPIC documents on the “Joint Advertising and Market Research Studies” Recruiting Database. The database includes sensitive student information, including home address and grade point average. DOD obtains this information from high schools offering military aptitude tests, state DMVs, and commercial data brokers. The documents sought by EPIC shed light on how DOD collects, retains, uses, and safeguards student information within the database. The documents provided to EPIC also reveal that many parents demanded that DOD remove their children’s records from the system. In 2005, EPIC, joined by more than 100 organizations, urged former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to end the database because it collected unnecessary information, did not permit individuals to opt-out, and was housed at a private-sector direct marketing company. The agency now permits individuals to opt-out. For more information, see EPIC: Student Privacy and EPIC: DOD Recruiting Database.”

New GAO Reports – Consumer Product Safety, Defense Contractors, FOIA, IRAs, Intellectual Property, VA Benefits

CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY OVERSIGHT: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Coordination and Increase Efficiencies and Effectiveness, GAO-15-52: Published: Nov 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 19, 2014. DEFENSE CONTRACTORS: Additional Actions Needed to Facilitate the Use of DOD’s Inventory of Contracted Services, GAO-15-88: Published: Nov 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 19, 2014. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: DHS Should Take Steps to Improve Cost Reporting andContinue Reading

Symantec – Government agencies and private sector businesses are drowning in information

Navigating Information Governance – “In addition to managing the growing variety, velocity, and volume of data, they must: Meet information transparency objectives Respond quickly to eDiscovery requirements Manage Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and internal investigations Comply with records management regulations With data requirements skyrocketing, how can organizations leverage information governance to meet thisContinue Reading

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Perspectives on Politics / Volume 12 / Issue 03 / September 2014, pp 564-581 “Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism andContinue Reading

FOIA request reveals extensive government monitoring of US mail

New York Times: “In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies and its own internal inspection unit to secretly monitor the mail of Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations. The number of requests, containedContinue Reading

Open Access Issues and Potential Solutions Workshop

Open Access Issues and Potential Solutions Workshop – McCutcheon, V., Kerridge, S., Meyering, M. A., Walker, K., Tripp, L., Khokhar, M., Nixon, W., Cheesman, P., Pike, D., and Caplehorne, J.(2014) Open Access Issues and Potential Solutions Workshop. Project Report. University of Glasgow, Glasgow. (Unpublished) “This report provides a summary of the discussion and findings of theContinue Reading

USA v. Jeffrey Alexander Sterling: Selected Case Files

Via FAS, there are several dozen documents in this compendium including: On January 6, 2011, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of former CIA officer Jeffrey A. Sterling on charges of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. A trial date has been set for January 14, 2015 (jury selection on January 8, 2015). Selected CaseContinue Reading

EPIC Obtains New Documents About Lack of Student Privacy Enforcement

“EPIC has obtained new documents from the Department of Education detailing parent and student complaints about the misuse of education records. The Department released the documents in response to an EPIC Freedom of Information Act request. EPIC is expecting to receive more documents about the agency’s enforcement of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.Continue Reading

Report claims NSA has operatives in foreign communications companies

“The National Security Agency has had agents in China, Germany, and South Korea working on programs that use “physical subversion” to infiltrate and compromise networks and devices, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also indicate that the agency has used “under cover” operatives to gain access toContinue Reading

Twitter – Taking the fight for #transparency to court

Twitter news release: ” As part of our latest transparency report released in July, wedescribed how we were being prohibited from reporting on the actual scope of surveillance of Twitter users by the U.S. government. Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosingContinue Reading

NSA Releases “12333” Report, Fails to Address Bulk Collection

EPIC: “The NSA released a privacy report on its surveillance activities under 12333, an Executive Order that provides broad authority for data collection. But the report only addresses a narrow aspect of the EO 12333 collection – protections for U.S. persons in the context of targeted signal intelligence activities. The report fails to address bulk collection orContinue Reading

A Public Accountability Defense for National Security Leakers and Whistleblowers

A Public Accountability Defense for National Security Leakers and Whistleblowers, Yochai Benkler. The Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol 8 No 2. July 2014. “In June 2013 Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Barton Gellman began to publish stories in  The Guardian and The Washington Post based on arguably the most significant national security leak in American history. By leakingContinue Reading