Politico: The Federal Courts Are Running An Online Scam

Politico: The Federal Courts Are Running An Online Scam. “The U.S. federal court system rakes in about $145 million annually to grant access to records that, by all rights, belong to the public. For such an exorbitant price—it can cost hundreds of dollars a year to keep up with an ongoing criminal case—you might think the courts would at least make it easy to access basic documents. But you’d be wrong. The millions of dollars the courts have reaped in user fees have produced a website unworthy of the least talented of Silicon Valley garage programmers; 18 years since its online birth, PACER remains a byzantine and antiquated online repository of legal information.”

New York Times: Accused of ‘Terrorism’ for Putting Legal Materials Online

New York Times: Accused of ‘Terrorism’ for Putting Legal Materials Online. “Carl Malamud believes in open access to government records, and he has spent more than a decade putting them online. You might think states would welcome the help. But when Mr. Malamud’s group posted the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, the state sued for copyright infringement. Providing public access to the state’s laws and related legal materials, Georgia’s lawyers said, was part of a ‘strategy of terrorism.'”

Courthouse News Service: Bill Would Make Online Access to Federal Court Records Free

Courthouse News Service: Bill Would Make Online Access to Federal Court Records Free (YAY!) “House lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would remove online paywalls and make federal court records free to the public. PACER, as the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system is otherwise known, currently charges between 10 cents and $3 for most searches, page views and PDF document downloads.”

AltGov2: FBI Wants to Destroy 9,000+ RICO Files

AltGov2: FBI Wants to Destroy 9,000+ RICO Files. “The FBI wants to pulp small files about its RICO investigations from 1970-1991. Larger files (those containing more than one section or 30+ registered documents) will be kept permanently. However, files with only one section and less than 30 registered documents will be destroyed 25 years after the case has been closed. Since these cases date from 27 to 48 years ago, the files would be eligible for destruction as soon as FBI’s proposal gets final approval. The National Archives (NARA) estimates that under this proposal, 29% of the RICO files from that period would be kept permanently. Thus, 71% would be destroyed. Out of a total of 12,971 files, that means around 9,210 will go into the shredder. These documents have not been scanned, so they don’t exist in digital form. Once they’re pulped, they’re gone.”