Friday, May 03, 2013
On our May 3rd show we talked to Mark Caramanica of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, about the Supreme Court’s recent decision concerning FOIA requests. Caramanica told us that as a result of the high court’s decision, if you live outside of a state like Virginia, that limits public records requests to state residents, you will have to find a “straw man” to file on your behalf. Michael Morisy, co-founder of MuckRock, is one of those straw men. MuckRock has filed some 2000 FOIA requests for citizens, academics and journalists in all 50 states. Brooke talks to Michael Morisy, who says access to information has obsessed him since he was reporter on his college paper.
Friday, May 03, 2013
A look at the media fallout around NBA center Jason Collins' announcement that he is gay, how one company is defending its patent of two genes linked to breast cancer, and how filing a Freedom of Information Act request just got a lot more complicated.
Friday, May 03, 2013
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that states have the right to limit public records requests to only residents of that state. Brooke talks to Mark McBurney, one of the petitioners in the case, and Mark Caramanica, Freedom of Information Director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Modest Mouse - Here It Comes
Friday, November 16, 2012
Ten years ago, Mexico passed some of the best freedom of information laws in the world. But while the laws are great on paper, their implementation has been problematic. Brooke travels to Mexico City to learn more about why Mexico's sunshine laws still struggle to illuminate information for the public.
Friday, November 09, 2012
With one term down and one more to go, we take a look at how well the first Obama administration did on some of the issues OTM cares about most: surveillance, transparency, whistleblowers, and press access. Brooke and Bob speak with The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, the Sunlight Foundation's Lisa Rosenberg, and ABC's White House correspondent Jake Tapper about Obama's first four years, and what they expect in the next four.
Friday, September 28, 2012
In 1981, student journalist Seth Rosenfeld began researching the FBI's misconduct in its investigations of 1960s student protests at UC Berkeley. The project blossomed into a 30-year investigative odyssey, resulting in the release of 300,000 FBI documents, which the government spent over $1 million trying to block. Bob talks to Rosenfeld about some of the stunning revelations from his new book, Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power.
Yo La Tengo - Damage
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
In February, I sent out numerous Freedom of Information Act requests to different government agencies to see if they had any information on me in their files. I received my response letters from most of the agencies, and they're on the one hand fairly anticlimactic, and on the other hand illuminating of how potentially weak FOIA can be.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
On last week's show and earlier this week on the blog, On the Media producer Sarah Abdurrahman talked about her "Go FOIA Yourself" project, which has her attempting to see how much information the federal government might be keeping on her. An eagle-eyed commenter on Sarah's last post pointed us toward an article by Erin Siegal in the Columbia Journalism Review which outlines the process of suing governmental agencies for refusing to release information requested through FOIA. More importantly, the article sheds light on just how costly the legal process can be.
Friday, March 02, 2012
In an attempt to make the government more transparent with the information it has collected about her, OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman is sending out personal Freedom of Information Act Requests to numerous government agencies. Bob speaks to Sarah about what it takes to FOIA yourself.
Friday, March 02, 2012
Friday, December 02, 2011
After a long court battle, Bloomberg.com has obtained crucial details about Federal Reserve lending during the financial crisis. We now know which banks got what amount of money. That's information lawmakers didn't have when they were crafting financial regulations. Brooke spoke with Bloomberg's Bob Ivry, who says that if law makers had known more - the financial regulations we have now might look very different.
Stateless – Ariel
Friday, November 18, 2011
India instituted a Right to Information law a few years ago that's very similar to the Freedom of Information Act in the US. The law has worked well as an anti-corruption tool but there's only problem. Some of the people who've used it have been killed afterwards. Bloomberg reporter Mejul Srivasta talks to Bob about how India is trying to protect its whistleblowers.
Tortoise - Gigantes (Mark Ernestus Version)
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Last week, we reported on a proposed change to the rules governing the Freedom of Information Act. The change would essentially allow the government to lie to requesters of information through FOIA by saying that it had no relevant documents, even when it did. Transparency advocates were up in arms about the proposed change, and ACLU policy council Michael German told Brooke this undermines the spirit in which the Freedom of Information Act was drafted:
The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act request is to give the public access to government information, so that public accountability can take place. And one of the key elements of the statute incorporates judicial review in government decisions about exemptions. People have a right to know what exemption is being applied so that they can challenge that in court and a judge can make an independent decision.
According to a press release just posted by the ACLU, the Department of Justice has withdrawn the proposed rule change:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) today withdrew a proposed regulation that would allow government agencies to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests with false denials that the documents sought actually exist, when, in fact, they do. Providing such false denials has apparently been a practice at DOJ for decades, which was most recently revealed in a FOIA lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.