Oversight Board Adopts EPIC’s Recommendations in New FOIA Rule

Adam Zyglis Cartoon

In response to extensive comments submitted by Electronic Privacy Information Center: EPIC, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has issued a final rule that will govern its Freedom of Information ActPrivacy Act, and Sunshine Act practices.

The Board’s initial draft of the rule allowed the agency to encourage other agencies to classify information, reserved the Board’s right to terminate public participation in Board meetings “at any time for any reason,” and contained vague, broad definitions that would permit the oversight agency to withhold information and delay document production.

In response, EPIC proposed new language for inclusion in the final rule. The Board adopted nearly all of EPIC’s proposed changes. EPIC routinely comments on agency proposals that impact the rights of FOIA requesters. For example, EPIC submitted extensive comments to the Defense Logistics Agency of the Department of Defense, warning the agency not to erect new obstacles for FOIA requesters.

 

Open Government

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both. — James Madison

EPIC FOIA Gallery

EPIC FOIA Litigation Manual

EPIC FOIA Cases

EPIC FOIA Notes

Scanned Images of Selected Documents Obtained Under FOIA

open gov

Entries tagged with: Open Government

EPIC Succeeds in Fight Against Protective Order in FOIA Case: A federal judge has vacated provisions in a prior order that would have limited the ability of FOIA requesters to disseminate information to the public. EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security after the agency failed to respond to a request for documents about a plan to monitor internet traffic. In arguments before the court, the Department of Justice contended that EPIC should agree to a protective order that would prevent EPIC from disclosing documents obtained in the case. EPIC challenged this argument, stating that it was contrary to FOIA law and that the use of protective orders in FOIA cases would make it more difficult for the public to obtain information about government activities. Judge Kessler agreed with EPIC and discarded the protective order requirement. She also chastised the agency for its repeated delays in processing EPIC’s FOIA request. The case is EPIC v. DHS, 12-333. For more information see: EPIC v. DHS – Defense Contractor Monitoring.

Oversight Board Adopts EPIC’s Recommendations in New FOIA Rule

In response to extensive comments submitted by EPIC, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has issued a final rule that will govern its Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, and Sunshine Act practices. The Board’s initial draft of the…

EPIC Urges Oversight Board to Uphold Strong Open Government Rules

In extensive comments, EPIC has urged the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board not to weaken the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Sunshine Act as the agency has proposed. According to EPIC, the Board proposes to adopt vague, broad,…

EPIC FOIA Document Reveals CIA Collaboration in Domestic Surveillance

According to a Central Intelligence Agency Inspector General’s report obtained by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA collaborated with the New York Police Department in domestic surveillance efforts. The CIA is prohibited from participating in domestic surveillance,…

EPIC Seeks Documents on Government’s Authority to Search Journalists’ Email

EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, seeking documents explaining the DOJ’s legal authority to search the electronic communications of reporters. Following news reports that the DOJ seized the…

On Proposed Trade Agreement, EPIC Says Keep Privacy Off the Table

EPIC has submitted comments to the U.S. Trade Representative addressing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed trade agreement between the US and the European Union. In its comments, EPIC recommended that the TTIP negotiations exclude consumer privacy and…

White House Launches Open Data Project

The President issued an Executive Order and memorandum this week outlining the administration’s new “Open Data Policy.” According to the White House, the goal is to make information “accessible, discoverable, and usable by the public” and to “promote interoperability and…

EPIC Pursues Public Release of Facebook and MySpace Privacy Reports

EPIC has submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for the release of the privacy assessments of Facebook and MySpace submitted to the Federal Trade Commission. As a result of privacy violations, both companies are required to implement comprehensive privacy programs…

EPIC Files Amicus Brief, Urges Disclosure of Secret Legal Memos

EPIC, joined by seven open government organizations, has filed a “friend of the court” brief urging a federal appeals court to order the government to disclose the legal authority for drone strikes. The case, New York Times v. Department of…

EPIC Comments on FTC’s FOIA Procedures

EPIC has submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission, supporting several of the agency’s changes to its FOIA regulations. EPIC applauded the agency for reducing fees for requesters. EPIC also urged the Committee to: (1) update its definition for news…

Federal Appeals Court Rules that Government Agencies Must Make an Actual “Determination” in Response to FOIA Requests

The D.C. Circuit Court reversed a lower court decision and sided with the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in a case concerning an agency’s obligation to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request. CREW argued that the…

EPIC Sues Education Department, Seeks Documents about Debt Collectors and Student Privacy

EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Education Department, following the agency’s failure to release documents about private debt collection and compliance with federal privacy law. The Department has contracts with at least twenty-three private debt…

EPIC Publishes 2013 FOIA Gallery, Highlights Documents Obtained Under Open Government Law

In celebration of Sunshine Week, EPIC has published the 2013 EPIC FOIA Gallery. The gallery highlights key documents obtained by EPIC in the past year, such as previously secret documents about cell phone traffic monitoring, domestic drones that identify human…

EPIC Sues DHS for Information about “Internet Kill Switch”

EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, following the agency’s failure to produce any documents about the “Emergency Wireless Protocols,” (Standard Operating Procedure 303 or “SOP 303”). SOP 303 describes the process…

EPIC Thanks Congress for FOIA Oversight, Calls for Renewed Attention to Transparency

EPIC, along with more than 40 transparency organizations, thanked the House Committee on Oversight for sending a letter to the Department of Justice about the importance of the Freedom of Information Act. The open government organizations said “outdated FOIA regulations,…

EPIC Challenges Secret Statute in Open Government Case

EPIC has opposed the Department of Justice’s reliance on secret legal authority in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. In EPIC v. DOJ et. al, EPIC is seeking information about government surveillance of individuals who have exercised their First Amendment…

Congress Challenges Justice Department Commitment to Open Government

In a letter to the director of the Office of Information Policy, a Congressional oversight committee has asked a series of question, challenging the government’s compliance with the FOIA. The Office of Information Policy is tasked with “encouraging agency compliance…

FTC Denies White House Involvement in Decision to Close Google Investigation

In response to a FOIA request filed by EPIC, the Federal Trade Commission has stated that there are no records of “communications . . . between the White House and the FTC regarding the Commission’s antitrust inquiry into Google.” In…

Senator Leahy Sets Out Judiciary Committee Agenda for New Congress

On January 16, 2013, Georgetown University Law School hosted Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy set out the agenda of the Judiciary Committee in the 113th Congress, vowing to commit the Committee to addressing…

EPIC Succeeds in Fight Against Protective Order in FOIA Case

A federal judge has vacated provisions in a prior order that would have limited the ability of FOIA requesters to disseminate information to the public. EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security after…

Interior Department Issues Revised FOIA Regulations, Addresses Some Open Government Concerns

The Interior Department has issued a final rule amending its FOIA regulations. In November 2012, EPIC submitted comments regarding the agency’s proposed amendments, urging the Interior Department not to weaken the FOIA as it had proposed. The final rule incorporates…

 

EPIC

The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) governs internal procedures of administrative agencies, including how they interact with the public. The APA is codified at 5 U.S.C. §§ 551-559, and encompasses the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. § 552) and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. § 552a). The APA serves to police improper agency behavior, protect public safety, and secure proper entitlements. More information on the APA can be found at EPIC: The Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

 

 

 

Resources:

 

2 thoughts on “Oversight Board Adopts EPIC’s Recommendations in New FOIA Rule

  1. Pingback: Judge orders US Dept Homeland Security to disclose ‘Internet kill switch’ plans | Atlas Monitor

  2. Pingback: “Freedom of Information Act” | Ace History News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s