SGI testifies about new SEC FOIA exemption statute

SGI Coordinator Rick Blum provided testimony to the House Financial Services Committee regarding the Committee’s review of Section 929I of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”). Section 929I added three statutory exemptions – known as “b(3)”s, after the subsection of FOIA permitting them – for the Securities and Exchange Commission to use to withhold information from FOIA requesters. Blum argued that Section 929I is overbroad and should be re-written; only Congress can repair 929I; Congress should not risk waiting and having an overbroad interpretation of 929I become ensconced in agency practice; and this process can be part [More]

More images of wrongdoing

The military appears ready to recycle arguments from last year, that photographic evidence of wartime abuses by American soldiers poses a threat to national security, the military, or both. An Army commander is imposing strict limits on photographs in connection with the deaths of three Afghan civilians earlier this year. Descriptions of the photographs and some of the military’s rationales for secrecy in this case are reminiscent of previous photographs and justifications: The pictures in question show “three dead Afghans with three different Soldiers posing, holding up the decedent’s head. (Each photo was one Afghan, one Soldier),” according to an [More]

A trade secret in U.S., losing bids fight corruption online in Seoul

You may know not know it, but Seoul, Korea is one of the most tech-savvy cities in the world.  Or so says Time Magazine in this profile of the city’s efforts to wire up its citizens. An eye-grabbing stat:  95 percent of the city’s residents have broadband connections in their homes. (By comparison, Time notes the U.S. has 60 percent of households have installed broadband.)  The impact is real: Start with clean government. All city contracts are now put out to bid online, and all bids are posted. That transparency, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon tells TIME, has reduced corruption in [More]

SEC & FOIA Exemption in Dodd-Frank: Your Take?

Update 8/9/10:  The hearing on the SEC FOIA exemption has been moved up to September 16th. Original Post: We need some input.  You may have read that the financial reform law includes a provision that allows the SEC to withhold certain investigative files confidential.  Fox Business is attacking this as a broad exemption ripe for abuse, while SEC says it really is meant narrowly and will issue guidance.  And today the House Financial Services Committee announced a hearing on September 23rd September 16 to look into the matter. What’s the impact on journalists who’ve covered the SEC? Let us know [More]