Homeland Security Giving Extra Political Scrutiny To 'Activist' Groups FOIA Requests, Singles Out EFF

from the freedom-deserves-extra-scrutiny dept

When President Obama first came into office, one of the things he pledged was greater transparency, including in responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. As we’ve seen with things like ACTA, where the USTR refused FOIA requests with a totally bogus claim of “national security,” the administration has regularly failed to live up to that promise and at times appears to be even worse than previous administrations. Over the last year, reports have come out that FOIA requests from certain groups and reporters are being singled out for political review. That’s not the way the FOIA process is supposed to work, but apparently Homeland Security has alerted various FOIA officials that requests from certain groups need to first be sent up the chain for political review, both potentially delaying the release of the information, and subjecting it to reviews and possible redactions that go beyond what the law establishes. As the EFF notes, it seems to be among the groups singled out for special scrutiny, and the letter outlining this policy highlights three specific EFF FOIA requests. So, apparently the plan is “transparency, except when it might hurt us politically.”

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Comments on “Homeland Security Giving Extra Political Scrutiny To 'Activist' Groups FOIA Requests, Singles Out EFF”

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24 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

What is the point of having these procedures (FOIA requests) if they are constantly ignoring them or delaying them for an unreasonable length of time?

Don’t they realize that it is better to come clean (even if it hurts them politically), and just release that information before it ends up in Wikileaks or something similar (which it will), and causes a lot more damage (both direct and collateral)?

No One in Particular says:

Possible solution

In following many of Mike’s posts, a possible remedy to capricious bureaucrat injustices is available. It’s called “Color-of-Law” http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/color-of-law/

The premise is anyone depriving you of your rights under the U.S. Constitution is breaking the law (the constitution supersedes copyright, bogus national security, etc., etc.). Thus, officials/bureaucrats are PERSONALLY liable, along with their company/organization, to lawsuits and/or criminal charges.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: so why bother voting anymore

I don’t vote for elected positions, I don’t trust or support the candidates and can’t vote for them in good conscience, so I don’t. What I do is vote on the propositions and so forth. I also think that sends a clearer message, these people pay attention and vote, but not for candidates because they are all crap.

Anonymous Coward says:

Homeland security is too concerned about the security of copy”right” holders to care about anything else. They need this backdoor so that they can go after more victimless criminals who pirate stuff and claim that they’re doing something brave and constructive in order to protect the security of their corporate overlords and their profit margins. What, do you honestly believe that they’re brave and competent enough to go after real criminals? ROFLOL.

Jason says:

Open face chilling sandwich

HOLY SHIT!!! Did you read the memo?

I’m used to Mike making arguments ad absurdum (because it’s important to think about the long term potentional for policies), and so I thought that’s what this was.

BUT NO, It basically says, “Report anything that we might not like along with all the identifying information on the requester. Thanks, your friendly Gestapo.”

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