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Author Archive | donal brown

California considers law to restore net neutrality to the state

A bill introduced in the California legislature to counter the Trump administration’s ending of net neutrality would stop internet service providers (ISPs) “from slowing access and exempting certain content from customers’ data plans.” (Courthouse News Service, March 14, 2018, by Nick Cahill) In drafting the bill, state Senator Scott Wiener consulted Stanford law professor Barbara […]

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Freedom foundation transparency awards target government obfuscation

President Donald Trump takes front stage for the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s annual worst in government transparency awards. Trump has spent over 55 days so far at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, prompting queries about how his presence there affects his family’s financial bottom line. So far the administration has not released visitor logs for the […]

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Freedom of Information Act thwarted but still generating insights

The federal government set a new standard for censorship this year as it withheld records from citizens and journalists. In rejecting requests for documents the government cited U.S. law or claimed it could not find any information on the topic. On average, out of five requests, it only fulfilled one. (Associated Press, March 12, 2018, […]

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Al Jazzera pushes back at move to make it register as foreign agent

Claiming that Al Jazeera undermines American interests, a group of U.S. lawmakers urged Attorney General Sessions to consider forcing it to register as a foreign agent. The news outlet is chartered by the Qatari government. (The Tower, March 7, 2018, by TheTower.org Staff) Al Jazeera reacted by calling the legislators’ action an assault on the […]

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New York Times sues Justice Department for documents on Manafort’s foreign lobbying

The New York Times is suing the Justice Department for records on Ukrainian and pro-Russian lobbying. The Times first filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents in August 2017 but had not received any response. Of particular interest is correspondence between the Justice Department and a Ukrainian pro-Russian political party that paid […]

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California open government roundup: California legislature sports poor record on transparency

As the sun shines on Sunshine Week, recognizing the importance of open government, the California legislature is still operating partially in the dark. The legislature has exempted itself from the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law. A proposition passed by voters required the legislature to publish bills 72 hours before a vote, but legislative […]

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AP and Facebook join forces to battle fake news in midterm elections

Under pressure after their platform fell victim to Russian-linked trolls disrupting the 2016 elections, Facebook is sorely challenged to show it can shut down nefarious activity. President Donald Trump has shown no interest in helping out, and the House rejected attempts to establish a commission to study Russia’s assault on our elections.  There is also […]

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