“Was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act?” Republican Senator John Cornyn has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder with some lengthy questions surrounding the lead up to Aaron Swartz’s death. Cornyn asks whether it was “the intention of the U.S. Attorney and/or her subordinates to ‘make an example’ of Mr. Swartz by prosecuting him,” and requests details as to what, if any, reviews the US attorney’s office carried out prior to Swartz’s prosecution. Whether anything will come of this is impossible to say, but it’s nice that someone in power is asking these questions (Photo credit: AP). source
We suspect this will be less shocking to those of you already familiar with the violent crackdowns taking place in Bahrain, but most will likely find it discomforting nonetheless. Government officials from both the United States and Bahrain have insisted that the ordinance being sold by the Department of Defense couldn’t/wouldn’t be used against the Persian Gulf nation’s civilian population; however, some reports suggest that attacks with American weaponry have already occurred. source
Starting today, October 1, journalists who submit Freedom of Information Act requests will be able to keep track of their requests through a new system called FOIA Online. The system, which will be used by the EPA, National Archives and Records Administration, Merit Systems Protection Board, Federal Labor Relations Board, and the Departments of Commerce and Treasury, should help both journalists and agencies track requests more efficiently.
The new system, called FOIA Online, allows anyone to search pending FOIA requests and documents already released as the result of previous FOIA requests, submit a new FOIA request to an agency, track requests, see the status of any request and receive agency correspondence and documents all within the new system. And for FOIA geeks like us, it provides anyone the ability to search the tracking data, identify trends and keep tabs on how well (or poorly) any agency is fulfilling its obligations under FOIA.
This is really good news for the open-government types.
After President Obama publicly debuted the White House’s home-brewed honey ale — aptly named White House Honey Ale — at a campaign stop last month, reporters and home-brewers alike have begged for details on the recipe. After a campaign on the White House’s “We The People” petition website failed, a Reddit user decided to take a more direct approach. Pictured above is an excerpt from a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act, asking that the White House release the recipe to a home-brewer with non-commercial ambitions. Do you think it’ll work? (Photo via Reddit user imatexasda)source
The FBI released documents Monday stating that New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner assisted the agency in two investigations — one of them apparently a terrorism probe — in the years leading up to his pardon by President Ronald Reagan on a campaign-contributions conviction.
One plane crash, many 911 calls: After a plane went down at a park in Monroe, Mich. on March 29th, a number of people nearby called 911 to report the disaster. This clip is the most harrowing. “It’s gone,” the caller said. The AP acquired the recordings through a FOIA request.
goods eBay could be under the gun if Omega watches wins their copyright lawsuit against CostCo regarding the sale of goods from abroad. The issue: Does the first-sale doctrine apply to imported goods?
games California’s ban on the sale of violent video games to minors is also under the gun in the current Supreme Court session. The EFF and the MPAA, sworn enemies otherwise, want to see the ban overturned.
business AT&T is trying to say that it’s allowed personal privacy in a FOIA case; the FCC disagrees. If SCOTUS sides with the phone company, businesses could get a lot more evil under the guise of privacy. source