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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

TRAC Sues ICE on Withholding Data on Secure Communities Program

“The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) has filed yet another suit in federal court today under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) charging Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with unlawfully withholding records on deportations. The new suit follows one filed on May 9. Both actions concern aspects of ICE’s unusually broad immigration control efforts and its sometimes contentious interaction with local law enforcement agencies. The records involved in this suit track ICE deportations under its Secure Communities Program. Under Executive Order 13768 signed by President Trump on January 25, 2017, Secure Communities was reinstated and replaced the Priority Enforcement Program that President Obama had initiated. Under President Trump, the agency announced that Secure Communities and the issuance of ICE detainers were to be cornerstones of its immigration enforcement strategy. The agency further threatened local jurisdictions with the withholding of federal funds if they did not cooperate with this program. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Susan B. Long and David Burnham, co-directors of TRAC, a non-partisan research data center at Syracuse University’s Newhouse and Whitman Schools. For years, in response to its regular requests for updated agency records, TRAC had received detailed case-by-case data on each ICE deportation under Secure Communities. In January of this year, ICE began refusing to disclose much of the information produced in its previous responses to TRAC’s FOIA requests. Because of ICE’s refusal to release these and other details on actual deportations, the government has prevented TRAC from providing the public with vital up-to-date information on its enforcement activities, and the role Secure Communities actually plays. Among the information now being withheld, for example, is information on whether deportations actually result from its use of detainers under Secure Communities, on how and when ICE took individuals into custody, and on the full details for any criminal history for those who were deported. Long and Burnham are represented in the suit on a pro bono basis by attorneys Sean Sherman and Scott Nelson of the Public Citizen Litigation Group. For more details on this matter, including the full text of TRAC’s complaint, see: http://trac.syr.edu/foia/ice/20170608/

EFF Sues DOJ For Records on Procedures for Ending National Security Letter Gag Orders

EFF news release:  “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Justice Department today to obtain records that can shed light on whether the FBI is complying with a Congressional mandate that it periodically review and lift National Security Letter (NSL) gag orders that are no longer needed. The FBI has issued as many as 500,000… Continue Reading

CIA releases Officially Released Information System database with 50 yrs of FOIA request documents

Via Muckrock’s work and posting as follows: “The results of the Agency’s ambitious project to track all the information its made public will soon become a valuable tool for government transparency. In 1985, citing concerns regarding “difficulty determining what has been publicly disclosed,” the CIA had a truly great idea that would serve both the… Continue Reading

DHS Privacy Office, New FOIA Subscription document library released

Via Jenny Groom – New FOIA documents now available: FEMA Frequently Requested Records – https://www.dhs.gov/publication/fema-records Presidential Transition Records – https://www.dhs.gov/publication/presidential-transition-records Countering Violent Extremism – https://www.dhs.gov/publication/countering-violent-extremism# Congressional Correspondence Logs – https://www.dhs.gov/publication/congressional-correspondence-logs Continue Reading

FOIA Lawsuits Reach Highest Level Recorded in 25 Years

“The latest available case-by-case records from the federal courts show that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits challenging the withholding of records have risen since President Trump assumed office. The number of recorded FOIA filings in April climbed to 63 – the highest level recorded for at least 25 years. And although the month is… Continue Reading

The Importance of Truth Workers in an Era of Factual Recession

The Importance of Truth Workers in an Era of Factual Recession, Alison Head and John Wihbey: “In our post-truth world, the evaluation of knowledge has become a perfunctory process facilitated by the ease of the one-search interface. Many of us, not only students, have become a nation of Google searchers looking for instantaneous matches of facts… Continue Reading

The Internet Archive won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Webbys

Brewster Kahle: The Internet Archive won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Webbys! One of the greatest honors came in the form of this terrific video, narrated by one of our heroes, Lawrence Lessig Lessig said, “Creativity and innovation build on the past. The Internet Archive is the foundation preserving that past, so that perhaps,… Continue Reading

Americans Divided on Whether Recent Science Protests Will Benefit Scientists’ Causes

“In the wake of last month’s marches for science and climate in Washington and around the country, Americans are divided in their support of the events’ goals and their sense of whether it will make a difference. In particular, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most Democrats and younger adults are convinced that… Continue Reading

Freedom of the Press 2017 – Press Freedom’s Dark Horizon

Key Global Findings 2017 “Global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016 amid unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies and new moves by authoritarian states to control the media, including beyond their borders. Only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a Free press—that is, a… Continue Reading

Global Open Data Index 2016/2017

The Global Open Data Index 2016/2017 – Advancing the State of Open Data Through Dialogue – “The Global Open Data Index (GODI) is the annual global benchmark for publication of open government data, run by the Open Knowledge Network. Our crowdsourced survey measures the openness of government data according to the Open Definition. By having… Continue Reading

Americans’ Attitudes About the News Media Deeply Divided Along Partisan Lines

“Democrats and Republicans, who already tend to place their trust in different news sources and rely on different outlets for political news, now disagree more than ever on a fundamental issue of the news media’s role in society: whether news organizations’ criticism of political leaders primarily keeps them from doing things they shouldn’t – or… Continue Reading