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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

DOJ Guidance on New Restrictions on Assessing Certain FOIA Fees

October 19, 2016 – “With President Obama’s signing of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, several substantive and procedural changes were made to the FOIA. Among these changes are additional restrictions on an agency’s ability to charge certain fees if the FOIA’s time limits are not met. Today, OIP has published guidance to assist agencies in understanding these additional restrictions on charging fees. Prior to the passage of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, agencies were prohibited from charging requesters certain fees when the FOIA’s time limits were not met, unless “unusual” or “exceptional” circumstances (as defined by the FOIA statute) were met. Those exceptions were narrowed by the recent amendments and contain specific steps that agencies must take in order to fall within them. Unless one of these three exceptions is satisfied, the basic rule is that when the FOIA’s time limits are not met an agency cannot charge search fees for requesters that fall within the “commercial” or “all other” fee categories. And, for the “preferred fee category” (i.e. representatives of the news media, and educational or noncommercial scientific institutions) the agency cannot charge for duplication.  OIP’s guidance describes the three exceptions to this prohibition on charging certain fees. To further assist agencies in implementing these new requirements, OIP has also prepared a Decision Tree for Assessing Fees that accompanies the new guidance. If you have any questions regarding this new guidance or any of the requirements of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, please contact OIP’s FOIA Counselor Service at (202) 514-FOIA (3642).”

IG – State Dept. reporting of classification activity inaccurate and incorrect

Via FAS – US Department of State OIG – Compliance Follow-up Review of the Department of State’s Implementation of Executive Order 13526, Classified National Security Information “OIG found that most of the Department’s security-cleared employees had not taken the training required by Executive Order 13526. Based on training records obtained from the Foreign Service Institute, OIG found that less than 14 percent of security-cleared… Continue Reading

FOIA Wiki Launches in Beta

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “Welcome to the FOIA Wiki! This free and collaborative resource on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, is provided by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, with contributions from The FOIA Project at TRAC, MuckRock, FOIA Mapper, and users like you. →… Continue Reading

National Security Archive Cyber Vault Project Library

Beta Edition, via the National Security Archive – “The Cyber Library contains all primary-source materials gathered by the Project across the full range of cyber security issues. New materials will be added on a regular basis. The [content] isting is chronological. To search for specific items, use [the search engine provided]. Continue Reading

District Court Judge releases list of more than 200 cases veiled in secrecy of Patriot Act

Washington Post – This judge just released 200 secret government surveillance requests “U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, a former Senate aide who helped draft the Patriot Act, has defied easy labeling throughout a decades-long career spent charting the frontier of technology and law in the nation’s capital….In ordering the first-ever release by a… Continue Reading

The Atlantic – What Congress Is Actually Good at

Michelle Cottle is a contributing editor at The Atlantic: “Because while some of Congress’s flashier oversight crusades reek of politics, the committees are in many ways doing the Lord’s work. It’s just that no one hears much about the not-so-sexy, not-so-partisan probes that actually seek to improve government. “No doubt there have been some abuses… Continue Reading

Advocacy Groups to Congress – Strengthen Congressional Oversight of Intelligence Community

September 13, 2016 via 33 organizations: “Dear Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi, We write to express our concerns about congressional oversight of intelligence activities. Congress is responsible for authorizing and overseeing these programs. In recent years, experts and policymakers have expressed concern that congressional oversight efforts are falling short. Experts have put forth reform… Continue Reading

9/11 – passage of 15 years brings new insights

There are many articles that continue to provide us with perspective and insight as we respectfully and with continued sadness, mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11. For many years there was an effort to obtain the release of the redacted “28 pages from the House Intelligence Committee’s 2002 report to Congress. As I posted July… Continue Reading

GAO Report on FOIA and Litigation Costs

Freedom of Information Act: Litigation Costs For Justice and Agencies Could Not Be Fully Determined, GAO-16-667: Published: Sep 8, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2016. “Of the 1,672 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits with a decision rendered between 2009 and 2014, GAO identified 112 lawsuits where the plaintiff substantially prevailed. Litigation-related costs for these… Continue Reading

A high schooler’s guide to FOIA

Via MuckRock – Challenging authority, one public records request at a time by Beryl Lipton: “While teens across the United States prepare to return to their cliques and classes, MuckRock would like to introduce inquisitive minds and aspiring rebels to the paper path toward challenging your school, town, and local government. Encourage increased clarity in… Continue Reading

2016 Online Journalism Awards finalists announced

“Finalists for the 2016 Online Journalism Awards, representing a wide range of nonprofit, public, academic, major media and emerging technology organizations from around the globe, were announced today by the Online News Association. Twelve of the awards now come with $53,500 in prize money, courtesy of Knight Foundation, the Gannett Foundation and the University of… Continue Reading

McKinsey – Policy in the data age

Policy in the data age: Data enablement for the common good By Karim Tadjeddine and Martin Lundqvist “The tremendous impact that digital services have had on governments and society has been the subject of extensive research that has documented the rapid, extensive adoption of public-sector digital services around the globe. We believe that the coming… Continue Reading