Freedom of Information
Anti-Leak Measures in Senate Bill Target Press, Public
“The Senate Intelligence Committee markup of the FY2013 Intelligence Authorization Act, which was officially filed yesterday, devotes an entire title including twelve separate provisions to the issue of unauthorized disclosures of classified information, or leaks. But several of those provisions aim to disrupt the flow of unclassified information to the press and the public rather than to stop leaks of classified information. . . The bill was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee by a vote of 14 to 1, with Sen. Ron Wyden in opposition. The text of the bill is here. The accompanying Committee report including commentary on each provision and Sen. Wyden’s dissent may be found here.”
Transparency missing in Arizona’s legislature
“. . . Technology is in theory giving Arizonans unprecedented access to the Legislature, with documents posted online and meetings captured on video. But lawmakers are short-circuiting the public process, critics say, in two key areas: the budget and “strike-everything” amendments, which completely swap out the contents of a bill, often for something entirely different.”
Is Brown (Act) Out in California? Time May Tell
“City councils, public commissions, county and school boards and special district governing bodies in California may continue to hold their meetings in the figurative “sunlight,” as well they should. But in an action that has received little notice except for niche blogs, the 59-year-old “Brown Act,” the state open meetings law that compels them to hold most deliberations, discussions and decision-making sessions in public, was largely eviscerated four weeks ago.”
What is an Unauthorized Disclosure?
“The anti-leak provisions proposed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in the pending FY2013 intelligence authorization act have been widely criticized as misconceived and ill-suited to achieving their presumed goals. But they also suffer from a lack of clarity and an absence of definitions of crucial terms.”
4 Big Cities Launch Shared Data Platform
“The Twitterverse was abuzz Wednesday, Aug. 1, about a new layer of data from local governments being added to the federal government’s open data portal, Data.gov. Cities.data.gov now features data sets from four of America’s largest cities — Chicago, Seattle, New York and San Francisco.”
Palo Alto looks to use open data to embrace ‘city as a platform’
“In the 21st century, one of the strategies cities around the world are embracing to improve services, increase accountability and stimulate economic activity is to publish open data online. The vision for New York City as a data platform earned wider attention last year, when the Big Apple’s first chief digital officer, Rachel Sterne, pitched the idea to the public. This week, the city of Palo Alto in California joined over a dozen cities around the United States and globe when it launched its own open data platform. The platform includes an application programming interface (API) which enables direct access through a RESTful interface to open government data published in a JSON format.”
With New Funding, DPLA Sets Sights on Search
“The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded $1 million to fund the creation of the infrastructure for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) last week, and the organization will now turn its focus toward developing a way to search across the many disparate collections involved with the project.”
FTC Seeks Comments on Additional Proposed Revisions to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule
“The Federal Trade Commission is publishing a Federal Register Notice seeking public comments on additional proposed modifications to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. In updating the Rule to keep current with technology advances, in September 2011, the FTC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed changes to the Commission’s COPPA Rule. The Commission received 350 comments. In response to those comments and informed by its experience in enforcing and administrating the Rule, the FTC now proposes to modify certain definitions to clarify the scope of the Rule and strengthen its protections for the online collection, use, or disclosure of children’s personal information.”
US Executive Branch Closure Crawl
“The State of the Federal Web Report issued in late 2011 noted that Federal agencies planned to eliminate or merge several hundred domains, as part of the President’s Campaign to Cut Waste. The goal was to reduce outdated, redundant, and inactive domains. As part of this work, the .gov Task Force overseeing the process asked members of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) to archive and preserve all .gov Executive branch domains slated to be decommissioned or merged. NDSA members immediately agreed that an important step in this process was to preserve the content of these sites as part of our national digital heritage – instead of simply eliminating them.”
Cybersecurity Amendments Would Modernize 25-Year-Old Privacy Law
“Two amendments to the Senate cybersecurity bill now being debated would require government agents to get a warrant before reading a person’s email or secretly tracking someone through their mobile phone. The amendments, if adopted, would be a huge privacy gain and address a long-standing civil liberties goal of modernizing the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the 25-year old law setting rules for when government agents can access our electronic communications and other private data. The amendments, one from Senator Leahy and another from Senator Wyden, would implement reforms sought by a diverse coalition from across the political spectrum. Supporters include AT&T, Google, the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, EFF, and IBM, among others.”
Statement of the Library Copyright Alliance on Limitations and Exceptions
“The Library Copyright Alliance expresses appreciation to Member States for your thoughtful discussions regarding limitations and exceptions for these three broad areas that affect the daily work of libraries: VIP, libraries, and education. We strongly oppose language in the proposed text for Article D of SCCR/23/7 regarding the provision of aggregated data to rightsholders. It would invite publishers to second-guess the procedures of libraries as authorized entities, to challenge the quality and quantity of the records kept or the appropriateness of transactions, and to threaten litigation when they see an increase.”
Divergent Approaches To Copyright Reform Emerge In Europe
“Two very different views of copyright reform emerged this week, one from a report commissioned by the UK government, the other from a French citizens’ advocacy group. The former envisions an intricately linked system of digital rights exchanges and databases to streamline copyright licensing, the latter broad, “non-market” sharing of protected works between individuals, among other things. Whether either approach is feasible remains to be seen, and, as always, the devil’s in the details, lawyers say.”
Library associations, EFF file friend of the court brief in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc.
“On August 1, 2012, members of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) (the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries and Association of College and Research Libraries), together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), filed a friend of the court brief (pdf) in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc., a lawsuit in which authors allege that Google violated copyright by scanning books to create Google Book Search (GBS), a search tool similar to its Internet search engine. The LCA/EFF brief defends GBS as permissible under the doctrine of fair use, a flexible right that allows copying without payment or permission where the public benefit strongly outweighs the harm to individual rightsholders.”
Google should pay $750 a book, say authors in copyright case
“Authors suing Google over the digitization of their books have asked a New York court to order the Internet company to pay $750 for each book it copied, distributed or displayed. The authors’ filing was lodged in federal court in the Southern District of New York last month, but was only made public on Friday. In the filing, the Authors Guild, whose president is novelist-lawyer Scott Thurow, urged the court to rule that Google’s digitization project does not constitute “fair use” under copyright law.”
From the UK: Archives for the 21st Century in action: refreshed
“The National Archives has published an updated action plan for archives to replace our existing Archives for the 21st Century in action. This action plan reflects the changing context in which the archives sector is operating and sets out The National Archives’ commitment to the archives sector in light of our new leadership role, as well as actions we believe archives should take over the next three years.”
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The Intersect Alert is a newsletter of the Government Relations Committee, San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, Special Libraries Association.