Pendulum swings towards disclosure, but agencies may push back

Advocates of transparency and access to government-held information may have gotten more than they expected in the Supreme Court’s recent Milner v. Department of the Navy decision, as the high court rejected a long-running agency exemption as impermissibly overbroad. But as agencies try to decide which information may now be eligible for release, we are concerned that they may overcompensate by using other exemptions to withhold information, by pushing a hodgepodge of legal and political protections, or both.

Advocates, officials discuss sunshine measures

Here’s a brief summary of testimony by witnesses at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning on the Freedom of Information Act.  Our appreciation to Chairman Patrick Leahy for holding the hearing (and adjusting the schedule to avoid conflicting with “FOI Day” at the Freedom Forum).

Some context for some surveillance

When news broke recently that federal officials were pushing for new regulations to facilitate online eavesdropping (“U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet”, New York Times, September 27, 2010), it seemed like there were two ways to interpret the situation: Did the proposed powers represent a significant change from the status quo? The administration’s proposal… would require reconfiguring of the Internet to provide easier access to online communications. —ACLU Or did the proposed powers merely enable law-enforcement officials to continue doing what they had been doing? We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability [More]