Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Freedom of Information

Freedom in the World 2018 Democracy in Crisis

Freedom House – Freedom in the World 2018, Democracy in Crisis: “Democracy is in retreat globally and, some say, in the United States. Exacerbating the democratic backslide are authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China, which have increased both repression at home and efforts to export instability abroad. On the home front, indifference toward democratic principles is escalating, as America retreats from a historic commitment to democracy promotion…Today, it is democracy that finds itself battered and weakened. For the 12th consecutive year, according to Freedom in the World, countries that suffered democratic setbacks outnumbered those that registered gains. States that a decade ago seemed like promising success stories—Turkey and Hungary, for example—are sliding into authoritarian rule. The military in Myanmar, which began a limited democratic opening in 2010, executed a shocking campaign of ethnic cleansing in 2017 and rebuffed international criticism of its actions. Meanwhile, the world’s most powerful democracies are mired in seemingly intractable problems at home, including social and economic disparities, partisan fragmentation, terrorist attacks, and an influx of refugees that has strained alliances and increased fears of the “other.”…Democratic norms erode within the United States The past year brought further, faster erosion of America’s own democratic standards than at any other time in memory, damaging its international credibility as a champion of good governance and human rights. The United States has experienced a series of setbacks in the conduct of elections and criminal justice over the past decade—under leadership from both major political parties—but in 2017 its core institutions were attacked by an administration that rejects established norms of ethical conduct across many fields of activity. President Trump himself has mingled the concerns of his business empire with his role as president, appointed family members to his senior staff, filled other high positions with lobbyists and representatives of special interests, and refused to abide by disclosure and transparency practices observed by his predecessors…”

FOIA Lawsuits Surge in Trump Administration’s First Year

“Since the new administration took office at the end of January 2017, there has been a sharp jump in the number of lawsuits filed by individuals and organizations seeking court orders to obtain federal government records. Suits brought by the news media and nonprofit advocacy organizations have fueled a significant part of this rise. Lawsuits… Continue Reading

How Climate Change Web Content is Being Censored Under the Trump Administration

“On January 10, 2018 the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) [released] Changing the Digital Climate: How Climate Change Web Content is Being Censored Under the Trump Administration, the third installment of EDGI’s series of reports evaluating the environmental impacts of the first year of the Trump administration. Changing the Digital Climate draws on the… Continue Reading

Feinstein: American People Deserve Opportunity to Read Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS Transcript

“Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the transcript of Glenn Simpson’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee [This testimony is from August 22, 2017] with the support of committee Democrats. Simpson is the co-founder of Fusion GPS. “After speaking with majority and minority committee staff for 10 hours, Glenn Simpson requested… Continue Reading

What Can Be Done to Protect Endangered Government Data?

“The federal government has made significant strides towards making vast amounts of government data freely available to the public, and businesses, researchers, civil society groups, journalists, and many others have put open data to good use. However, recent events suggest that some open government data may be at risk. For example, in February 2017, the… Continue Reading

Politico – How the federal government hides sexual harassment payouts

Executive branch agencies don’t uniformly track claims or report details of settlements paid out via a federal fund – “Requests for information about the broad scope and total cost of sexual harassment settlements from the Treasury Department, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and more than a dozen federal agencies yielded no clear answers. An administration… Continue Reading

2017 Was a Big Year for Scrubbing Science from Government Websites

MotherJones: 2017 Was a Big Year for Scrubbing Science from Government Websites. Here’s the List. Are the changes routine, rebranding, or censorship? “Moments after President Donald Trump took the oath of office last January, nearly all references to climate change disappeared from the White House official website. A page detailing former President Barack Obama’s plans to… Continue Reading

How the Trump era is changing the federal bureaucracy

The Washington Post: “Nearly a year into his takeover of Washington, President Trump has made a significant down payment on his campaign pledge to shrink the federal bureaucracy, a shift long sought by conservatives that could eventually bring the workforce down to levels not seen in decades. By the end of September, all Cabinet departments… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – Legislation Alert: Worrisome Changes to Government Publications Are Possible

Via LLRX – Legislation Alert: Worrisome Changes to Government Publications Are Possible Peggy Roebuck Jarrett writes about an issue that is significant to law librarians, federal documents librarians, and to the public. The subject is a draft House bill that proposes “to amend title 44, United States Code, to reform the organization, authorities, and programs… Continue Reading

POGO – Revealing the Lost World of Government Reports

POGO – “Congress is considering a simple but important step in overseeing federal agencies. A recently introduced bill would require a one-stop, easy-to-use, online location for all congressionally mandated reports. This may put an end to the world of lost and hidden government reports. Each year, Congress mandates that federal agencies report on programs, laws,… Continue Reading

Interview – The U.S. Has Way Too Many Secrets

The U.S. Has Way Too Many Secrets, December 11, 2017 by The Archive. This article originally appeared in Bloomberg. “A Q&A with Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, on the historical value of Hillary Clinton’s emails, the sins of Julian Assange, and what national secrets are really worth keeping. How much does it… Continue Reading

American Bar Association focus of attacks in efforts to approve unqualified judges

Politico: “Senate Republicans have declared war on the American Bar Association. Since 1953, the venerable legal organization has played a critical, behind-the-scenes role in assessing judicial nominees and their fitness to serve on the bench.But with the ABA emerging as a major stumbling block in President Donald Trump’s effort to transform the courts, the GOP… Continue Reading