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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

State of the News Media 2015

“Call it a mobile majority. At the start of 2015, 39 of the top 50 digital news websites have more traffic to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers, according to Pew Research Center’s analysis of comScore data. At the same time, though, desktop visitors to these sites tend to spend more time per visit than do mobile visitors. For half of these top 50 news sites – which include legacy print, cable, network, international and public broadcasting outlets as well as digital-only entities – visitors from desktops stay longer than those coming through mobile. The reverse is true for only 10 of the sites, while for 15 sites the time spent is roughly equal. In tandem with the growth of mobile has been the further rise of the social Web, where the flow of information embodies a whole new dynamic. Some of our 2014 research revealed that nearly half of Web-using adults report getting news about politics and government in the past week on Facebook, a platform where influence is driven to a strong degree by friends and algorithms. Americans’ changing news habits have a tremendous impact on how and to what extent our country functions within an informed society. So too does the state of the organizations producing the news and making it available to citizens day in and day out. Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media report focuses primarily on the latter, tracking the expanding and diversifying news industry over time and across a variety of indicators. Understanding the industry in turn allows researchers to ask and answer important questions about the relationship between information and democracy – whether this means exploring the degree to which like-minded consumers gravitate to the same sources, the opportunities consumers have or don’t have to stay on top of the activities of their elected officials, or how connected residents feel to their local communities.”

DHS Defends Government Secrecy in “Internet Kill Switch” Case

EPIC – “The Department of Homeland Security has filed a brief in response to EPIC’s petition for rehearing in the “Internet Kill Switch” case. EPIC is seeking the release of the public policy that allows the government to suspend cell phone service. The D.C. Circuit previously ruled that DHS may withhold the policy. EPIC pursuedContinue Reading

2014 Report on Security Clearance Determinations April 2015

FAS – “The number of persons holding security clearances for access to classified information decreased by more than 635,000 (or 12.3 percent) last year, according to a new report to Congress from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  It was the first reported drop in the total security-cleared population since the government beganContinue Reading

The Chernobyl Story – 29th Anniversary

Andrew Leatherbarrow: “At precisely 01:23:40 on the morning of April 26th, 1986, a control room operator named Alexander Akimov made his fateful decision to press the Emergency Shutdown button at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power station. The reactor exploded, annihilating its containment building and sending a lethal cloud of radioactive particles across Europe. This unprecedented accidentContinue Reading

World Intellectual Property Day 2015 Events

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – “Every April 26 we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day to promote discussion of the role of intellectual property in encouraging innovation and creativity… WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation. We are a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 188 member states.Continue Reading

International Atomic Energy Agency Lacks Transparency, Observers and Researchers Say

“The nuclear inspection agency that is central to the current Iran negotiations is flunking international transparency norms, according to a report posted today by Freedominfo.org and the National Security Archive’s Nuclear Vault. Key documents about International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) proceedings, found in various national archives and private collections but closed at Agency headquarters inContinue Reading

Key Federal Agencies Lack Timely Response to Basic FOIA Request

“The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse sent 21 federal agencies identical FOIA requests on Jan. 22nd and 23rd. Sixty-five business days later, only seven agencies have provided usable data in response to the request. One agency, the CIA, denied the request, which is for basic records that track the processing of the FOIA requests the agencyContinue Reading

DHS Privacy Office FOIA Report March 2015

Department of Homeland Security Privacy Office 2015 Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer Report to the Attorney General of the United States March 2015. “The Report summarizes the Department’s accomplishments in achieving its strategic goals related to transparency, openness, and implementing FOIA from March 2014 through March 2015…a word about the backlog: As has beenContinue Reading

New State of America’s Libraries Report finds shift in role of U.S. libraries

ALA News: “According to The State of America’s Libraries Report released today by the American Library Association (ALA), academic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society. No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic lifeContinue Reading

Report – Metadata collection of Americans’ international calls began in 1992

Brad Health – USAToday: “The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed. For more than two decades, the Justice Department andContinue Reading

Brookings Essay – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Terrorists

The Big Snoop – The divergent views of four respected experts help frame the debate over the future of the NSA in the Snowden Era – Stuart Taylor, Jr.:  “With the approach of the first anniversary of the most copious and sensational leakage of intelligence secrets in history, the consequences of his actions continue toContinue Reading

WaPo – Reporters say federal officials, data increasingly off limit

Access Denied – Paul Farhi: “Tensions between reporters and public information officers — “hacks and flacks” in the vernacular — aren’t new, of course. Reporters have always wanted more information than government officials have been willing or able to give. But journalists say the lid has grown tighter under the Obama administration, whose chief executiveContinue Reading