Foreign Affairs: Trapped in the Archives. “Did the United States have a hand in assassinating Congolese and Dominican leaders in 1961? What did President Richard Nixon’s White House know about a successful plot to kill the head of the Chilean army in 1970? After the Cold War ended, did top U.S. military commanders retain the authority to strike back if a surprise nuclear attack put the president out of commission? The answers to these and other historical mysteries are likely knowable—but they are locked in presidential libraries and government archives and inaccessible to researchers. The reason: the U.S. government’s system for declassifying and processing historical records has reached a state of crisis.” A really important read. Please do not miss this one.
The Register: Top American watchdog refuses to release infamous 2012 dossier into Google’s anti-competitive behavior . “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has refused to release an infamous report into Google’s anti-competitive behavior, claiming that staff reports are exempt from America’s Freedom of Information Act.”
MakeUseOf: 5 Freedom of Information Sites Full of Declassified Documents and Secrets. “Leaks from whistle-blowers and informants often lead to damaging exposes like with WikiLeaks. But more and more hidden information is surfacing through common people and activists. The trailblazers leverage the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the USA and its equivalents in other countries. These portals show how they are forcing changes and making an impact, and even gives you the power and guidelines to dig out data yourself.”
Muckrock: Looking for a better way to teach public records? Read what we’ve learned in Make FOIA Work. “Last August, with support from the Online News Association, we partnered with the Engagement Lab at Emerson College and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism to explore new ways of teaching public records to students and the broader community. Five workshops, four articles, and a hundred public records requests later, our partners at the Engagement Lab have put together a new website, Make FOIA Work, and downloadable guide on what we’ve learned, ideas to make Freedom of Information work more exciting and accessible, and a blueprint for others to build on.”
Techdirt: Techdirt Sues ICE After It Insists It Has No Records Of The 1 Million Domains It Claims To Have Seized. “There’s a pretty long backstory here, so let’s go back about a decade. In the summer of 2010, we found it somewhat disturbing that ICE had ‘seized’ a bunch of websites and was announcing this from Disney’s headquarters. It raised all sorts of questions, starting with the big First Amendment questions. There are a whole bunch of cases making it clear that prior restraint is not allowed under the First Amendment. ”
EPIC: National Archives Releases New Kavanaugh Records. “In response to EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the National Archives has released hundreds of new emails from Justice Kavanaugh’s time in the White House. The emails concern the controversial surveillance programs Total Information Awareness, Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II (CAPPS II), and Secure Flight.”
Motherboard: Researchers Are Liberating Thousands of Pages of Forgotten Hacking History From the Government. “In 1989, just a few months after the web became a reality, a computer worm infected thousands of computers across the world, including those of NASA. The worm showed a message on the screens of the infected computers: ‘Your System Has Been Officially WANKed.’ Late last month—30 years after the ‘WANK worm’ struck NASA—the agency released an internal report that the agency wrote at the time, thanks to a journalist and a security researcher who have embarked on a project to use the Freedom of Information Act to get documents on historical hacking incidents.”