Posted on June 3, 2012.
Freedom of Information
Instead of Ramping Up, Declassification Activity Slowed in 2011
“The total number of pages of government records that were reviewed for declassification last year, as well as the number that were actually declassified, declined slightly from the year before, according to the 2011 annual report from the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) that was published today.”
CIA Stops Charging Declassification Fees …For Now. White House and Congressional Intervention Still Needed.
“The Central Intelligence Agency’s legal counsel has confirmed that “as a courtesy to requesters,” the Agency, “has decided not to charge fees under the new [Mandatory Declassification Review] regulation while judicial review of the regulation is pending.” The CIA, however, still “believes the new regulation is within the scope of its authority.” Fee language has been absent in CIA letters responding to MDR requests from the National Security Archive.”
Congress Will Allow Energy Dept to Reclassify Nuke Info
“Congress is poised to amend the Atomic Energy Act to allow certain nuclear weapons-related information that is classified as Formerly Restricted Data (FRD) to be restored to the Restricted Data (RD) category.”
Appropriators May Undercut Legislative Transparency House
“Appropriators may deal a tremendous blow to prospects for improving public access to legislative information. In a draft report expected to accompany the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill for 2013, scheduled for a full committee vote tomorrow, appropriators misunderstand how data can be “authenticated,” and kick responsibility for improving public access to legislative data to a non-public task force with no set reporting date. Unless corrected, this draft report represents a tremendous step backward for transparency, and fails to seriously grapple with the history of efforts to free legislative information for widespread public use.”
Move to Declassify FISA Court Rulings Yields No Results
“An initiative that was started two years ago to declassify significant rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court regarding domestic intelligence surveillance has produced no declassified records, a Justice Department official confirmed last week.”
The state of open records laws: Access denied
“Early last month, lawmakers in Iowa completed work on a new open records statute. Senate File 430 creates the Iowa Public Information Board, a nine-member commission charged with enforcing the state’s open records and meetings laws. For good government advocates in the Hawkeye State, the new legislation was cause for celebration — sort of.”
California State Senate Moves Key Transparency Bills
“The California State Senate on Thursday approved a couple of key transparency bills that will both help to make government documents more accessible online, and provide funding for the state’s decrepit online lobbyist disclosure system Cal-Access. The senate on Thursday voted 34-0 to approve an open data bill sponsored by Sen. Leland Yee, (D-San Francisco/San Mateo.) The body also voted 27-10 to approve a bill sponsored by Yee that establishes a new fund that would pay for upgrades to the state lobbyist disclosure database. The Political Disclosure, Access, and Transparency Fund will be financed by doubling the fees that California’s 2,000 registered lobbyists have to pay for filing forms with the government regarding their activities.”
A.G. Schneiderman Launches “NY Open Government” Online Tool To Promote Transparency & Accountability
“Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman took another major step in his drive to bolster transparency in state government by launching “New York Open Government,” a major expansion of the office’s Project Sunlight website. The new site is designed to help voters, the media and government watchdogs hold state government accountable by providing the public with comprehensive, up-to-date, and user-friendly information on campaign contributions, lobbying, and state contracts.
Obama Plans to Further Harness Technology for Transparency
“A new White House strategy could revolutionize transparency by reforming the fundamentals of how government uses technology. The plan lays out procedures for establishing openness as the default for public information and raises the bar for usability, efficiency, and innovation. The reforms promise to make government information easier to find and use through a series of concrete actions to be taken over the next year and would help Americans engage with their government.”
Bulk Access Developments after the H. Approps Hearing
“In the last 24 hours there have been three significant developments on providing the public with better access to legislative information. The Appropriations Committee approved a fundamentally flawed report; Rep. Honda spoke out in favor of bulk access to legislative information; and Speaker Boehner’s spokesperson reaffirmed House Republicans’ commitment to bulk data while simultaneously praising the move by appropriators.”
Horizon 2020: A €80 Billion Battlefield for Open Access
“As negotiations proceed to shape the next installment of Europe’s gargantuan research funding programs, scientists, librarians, and publishers are eagerly awaiting the answer to a critical question: How strong will the new 7-year program, called Horizon 2020, be on Open Access (OA)? The European Commission has said that making the research it funds widely available is one of its priorities.”
British Library, Open Rights Group and ISPs accused of “tawdry theft”
“The chief executive of the Publishers Association has accused organisations including the British Library and the Open Rights Group of using the language of freedom of expression “as a cloak for their tawdry theft”. Speaking at the Westminster Media Forum, Richard Mollet said that these organisations, along with research councils, ISPs and search engines were trying to erode copyright and that using the language of freedom of expression was a “grotesque attempt to draw moral equivalence between stealing someone’s work and the struggle for political representation”.”
Warning over digital archive ‘black hole’
“The National Library of Scotland said online and social media coverage from the past 20 years was disappearing. It has urged the UK government to act swiftly on proposals to give libraries the legal right to collect and store electronic publications. Legislation passed in 2003 is scheduled to be implemented in 2013.”
When the Government Comes Knocking, Who Has Your Back?
“When you use the Internet, you entrust your thoughts, experiences, locations, and more to companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. But what happens when the government asks these companies to hand over your private information? Will the company stand with you? Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) releases its second annual “When the Government Comes Knocking, Who Has Your Back?” report – this time as a white paper and chart tracking some of the Internet’s biggest service providers on their public commitments to their users’ privacy and security.”
ALA 2012: PW Talks with Jonathan Band, Lawyer to the Library Community
“Can’t we all just get along? For all the common interests between the library and publishing communities—interests vividly on display at the ALA annual conference—relations have been strained in recent years by significant legal and legislative developments. Digitization, open access, licensing, and a thorny e-book transition have yielded contentious court battles, market actions, and controversial legislation that cuts to the heart of the library enterprise. . . The library community is fortunate to have a strong, savvy legal and legislative team, including the American Library Association’s Washington office, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Librarians. And they have Jonathan Band. An experienced intellectual property attorney, Band is a valued consultant to libraries, and the author of many of the library community’s court briefs. Band has been a busy man. In recent years, new technology has led to unprecedented court battles, from the Georgia State case to Google and the HathiTrust. PW caught up with Band to talk about the lawsuits and litigation now facing libraries.”
Authors Guild vs. Google Books Now a Class Action Lawsuit
“The Authors Guild’s case against Google Books is now a class action suit, as of May 31. Judge Denny Chin did not find Google’s survey showing that many authors have different views of the damage done them, if any, by Google Books, reason enough not to certify the class. “That some class members may prefer to leave the alleged violation of their rights unremedied is not a basis for finding the lead plaintiffs inadequate,” he said.”
National Printing Office Unveils New Digital Library in Costa Rica
“Thanks to an initiative by the National Printing Office, public school students in Costa Rica will soon be able to access all their mandatory reading assignments online. The project named “Editorial Digital” was presented to the government weeks ago, and according to Jarmon Noguera Gonzalez of La Prensa Libre, the initiative also aims to foster good reading habits among citizens of Costa Rica.”
Spread the news and sign the petition to save Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
“Here’s more news from our Canadian colleagues regarding the ongoing erosion of library services and Library and Archives Canada (LAC).”
Google To Chinese Searchers: Your Search Interruptions Are Not Our Fault
“Google announced on their blog that they have noticed an increase in complaints from searchers in mainland China. The issues they are reporting is that Google.com and searchers are not coming up, as if Google.com is down. So Google investigated their servers and operations and noticed no issues with anything on Google’s side. So they ran some tests and were able to confirm that many queries lead to Google acting as if Google is unreachable.”
See also this story from USA Today: Google helps Chinese avoid censorship
Please feel free to pass along in part or in its entirety.
The Intersect Alert is a newsletter of the Government Relations Committee, San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, Special Libraries Association.