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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

Trust and Distrust in America

Pew – Trust and Distrust in America – “Many Americans think declining trust in the government and in each other makes it harder to solve key problems. They have a wealth of ideas about what’s gone wrong and how to fix it. Trust is an essential elixir for public life and neighborly relations, and when Americans think about trust these days, they worry. Two-thirds of adults think other Americans have little or no confidence in the federal government. Majorities believe the public’s confidence in the U.S. government and in each other is shrinking, and most believe a shortage of trust in government and in other citizens makes it harder to solve some of the nation’s key problems. As a result, many think it is necessary to clean up the trust environment: 68% say it is very important to repair the public’s level of confidence in the federal government, and 58% say the same about improving confidence in fellow Americans. Moreover, some see fading trust as a sign of cultural sickness and national decline. Some also tie it to what they perceive to be increased loneliness and excessive individualism. About half of Americans (49%) link the decline in interpersonal trust to a belief that people are not as reliable as they used to be. Many ascribe shrinking trust to a political culture they believe is broken and spawns suspicion, even cynicism, about the ability of others to distinguish fact from fiction…”

Our past on the internet is disappearing before we can make it history

Lapham’s Quarterly – Please, My Digital Archive. It’s Very Sick. “Digital history isn’t history at all—until, without warning, it is. In an age in which any internet user is a creator-in-the-making, reaching a handful of virtual friends or entire corners of the web in a moment’s notice, the line between archive-worthy material and the detritus… Continue Reading

Disinformation and the 2020 Election: How Social Media Industry Should Prepare

NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights – The role of social media in a democracy. “In our fourth report on online disinformation, the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights explores risks to democracy and free speech posed by the expected spread of disinformation during the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The report… Continue Reading

Could footnotes be the key to winning the disinformation wars?

Washington Post – Armed with footnotes, we can save democracy  – “We are at a distinctive point in the relationship between information and democracy: As the volume of information dissemination has grown, so too have attempts by individuals and groups to weaponize disinformation for commercial and political purposes. This has contributed to fragmentation, political polarization,… Continue Reading

How The Times Uses FOIA to Obtain Information the Public Has a Right to Know

The New York Times – Our lawyer provides an update on why we’re still filing so many Freedom of Information Act lawsuits – “…what we face every day in The New York Times’s legal department as we continue to push against government secrecy through the use of FOIA. Whether it is helping our reporters as… Continue Reading

Facebook revises policies to clarify who buys political ads

UPI – “Facebook said [August 28, 2019] it’s changing company policies to add transparency and clarify exactly who pays for political advertisements that appear on its social platform. The company said it wants to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election, in which Russian actors spread disinformation and encouraged divisiveness online through targeted ads. “People… Continue Reading

New Resource Tool Sheds Light on Government’s Prepublication Review System

Just Security – “For more than three years, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University have been litigating a series of Freedom of Information Act requests relating to “prepublication review.” Under this far-reaching censorship system, millions of current and former government employees, contractors, and even interns must submit… Continue Reading

The Emoluments Clauses of the US Constitution – updated CRS report

CRS Report updated August 23, 2019 – The Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution – “Recent litigation involving President Trump has raised a number of legal issues concerning formerly obscure constitutional provisions that prohibit the acceptance or receipt of “emoluments” in certain circumstances. This In Focus provides an overview of these constitutional provisions, highlighting several… Continue Reading

Just Security Launches the Russia Investigation Congressional Clearinghouse

“Today we launch the Russia Investigation Congressional Clearinghouse – a resource tool that seeks to provide, in one place, all congressional investigations materials related to Russia’s efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. We trust it will be a great resource for journalists, academics, and the broader Just Security readership. Bookmark the clearinghouse page to find… Continue Reading

NARA Drives Govt Transition to All-Electronic Records

Secrecy News: “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is embarking on an ambitious effort to phase out the acquisition of paper records by 2022 and to transition to all-electronic record keeping. The White House Office of Management and Budget has endorsed the initiative and has directed all federal agencies to adopt exclusively electronic formats… Continue Reading

Anti-Piracy Efforts Are Unlikely to Beat Sci-Hub

Follow-up to previous posting with related links – Elsevier sends copyright threat to site for linking to Sci-Hub – see Torrent Freak – “Elsevier and other academic publishers see ‘pirate’ site Sci-Hub as a major threat to their billion-dollar industries. Many researchers, however, can’t function properly without the notorious site. Since anti-piracy efforts are unlikely… Continue Reading

Proposed White House Executive Order would have FCC and FTC police alleged social media censorship

CNN Business: “A draft executive order from the White House could put the Federal Communications Commission in charge of shaping how Facebook, Twitter and other large tech companies curate what appears on their websites, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. The draft order, a summary of which was obtained by CNN, calls for… Continue Reading