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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

Trump ‘Absolutely Immune’ From NY Tax Subpoena, Justices Told

Law360 – “President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to find that he has “absolute immunity” from criminal investigations while president and to block the Manhattan district attorney’s subpoena of tax and financial records from his accounting firm.  The Second Circuit found President Donald Trump’s presidential immunity from state criminal process doesn’t extend to the grand jury subpoenas at issue in the case. (AP) Trump lawyers petitioned the justices to overrule a Nov. 4 decision by the Second Circuit, which found his accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP, is required to furnish his tax returns to New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance. The tax returns and financial records are part of an investigation into hush-money payments made to two women alleged to have had affairs with Trump, according to Vance’s office. The high-profile case involves the limits of state investigative powers and the ability to obtain the president’s tax returns, an issue that’s been an object of intense scrutiny since before Trump became president and has been the subject of multiple court disputes…”

Strengthening Transparency or Silencing Science? The Future of Science in EPA Rulemaking

National Academies: Committee Member Testifies Before Congress on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science – “David Allison, member of the committee that wrote a 2019 National Academies report on reproducibility and replicability in science, appeared on Nov. 13, 2019 before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Nov. 13 to discuss the report’s recommendations… Continue Reading

76 things you can do to boost civic engagement

Brookings: “The year 1776 was an auspicious year for democracy. The idea that a people could govern themselves was radical at the time. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed are for most Americans revered documents and a cornerstone of our democracy. Over the years, this idea of democratic republicanism has become central… Continue Reading

Local journalism in crisis: Why America must revive its local newsroom

Brookings: “Thousands of local newspapers have closed in recent years. Their disappearance has left millions of Americans without a vital source of local news and deprived communities of an institution essential for exposing wrongdoing and encouraging civic engagement. Of those still surviving, many have laid off reporters, reduced coverage, and pulled back circulation. Over 65… Continue Reading

A Constitutional Right to Public Information

Marzen, Chad G., A Constitutional Right to Public Information (October 19, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3472464 “In the wake of the 2013 United States Supreme Court decision of McBurney v. Young (569 U.S. 221), this Article calls for policymakers at the federal and state levels to ensure governmental records remain open and accessible to the… Continue Reading

Freedom on the Net 2019 The Crisis of Social Media

Freedom House – “Governments around the world are increasingly using social media to manipulate elections and monitor their citizens, tilting the technology toward digital authoritarianism. As a result of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year, according to Freedom on the Net 2019, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment… Continue Reading

Publication of Mueller Report’s Secret Memos Begins

“BuzzFeed News sued the US government to see all the work that Mueller’s team kept secret. We have published the first installment, with revelations about the Ukraine conspiracy theory, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and more… In response to a court order, the Justice Department released the first installment of documents: hundreds of pages of summaries… Continue Reading

We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally

Via @Jack – Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey –  “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should… Continue Reading

Trump to Tell Federal Agencies to Cut New York Times, Washington Post Subscriptions

WSJ.com – The move comes days after President Trump told his staff to cancel the White House’s print subscriptions to the Post and the Times.  “The White House is planning to instruct federal agencies to not renew their subscriptions to the New York Times and the Washington Post, administration officials said, escalating President Trump’s attacks… Continue Reading

BBC News launches ‘dark web’ Tor mirror

BBC News: “The BBC has made its international news website available via Tor, in a bid to thwart censorship attempts. Tor is a privacy-focused web browser used to access pages on the dark web. The browser can obscure who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance… Continue Reading

How Vladimir Putin Has Cracked Down on Russia’s Internet

Newsweek: “Russia President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that blocks websites and internet services offering Russians a loophole into viewing content banned in their country. The law, signed by Putin Saturday and published by the government Sunday, claims to combat the spread of extremism but once again shuts down an avenue used by many… Continue Reading