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Sunlight Foundation dims its light damaging transparency campaign

With the shutdown of its technical unit, Sunlight Labs, the Sunlight Foundation has provoked much speculation about its future. Labs Director Kat Duffy, Sunlight Foundation, September 21, 2016, says it’s a time for reflection on the purpose and future of technology in establishing sustainable models for transparency. She observes that the Labs’ work is open […]

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National security takes free speech in clash over disseminating info on making untraceable 3D-printed guns to foreign nationals

The State Department won a round in the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals when the court ruled that the government’s interest in protecting national security could prevent a gun company, Defense Distributed, from publishing information on its website that provided technical advice to foreign nationals to produce un traceable 3D-printed guns . One justice […]

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Yelp appeals to California Supreme Court after adverse libel case ruling

Yelp is appealing a defamation lawsuit to the California Supreme Court after a lower court ruled that Yelp must  remove a post criticizing a San Francisco law firm. The firm’s lawyer Dawn Hassell claims it just wants to remove defamatory content from the site, but Yelp is worried that the ruling could make it easy […]

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Motion picture industry fights to protect its interests using free speech argument

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is mounting a strong First Amendment defense in Forsyth v. MPAA, a lawsuit to force the industry to change ratings for films involving tobacco use to R. The plaintiffs say that children viewing tobacco imagery will be encouraged to use tobacco resulting in the deaths of millions. The […]

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Epi-Pen fallout: More transparency on the horizon for drug price increases

A law proposed by U.S. Senator John McCain and two democratic legislators would increase transparency in the pharmaceutical industry by requiring them to reveal why it is necessary to raise drug prices. “Drug corporations that choose to increase the price of prescription drugs by more than 10 percent in a year should be required to […]

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California advisory vote on Citizens United set for November

On the November ballot in California, Proposition 59 asks  elected officials to press for changes regarding campaign spending and contributions. An advisory measure, Prop 59 seeks an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that removed limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions. (California Secretary of State Official […]

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Washington Post reporter engages public in reporting Trump contributions

In verifying Donald Trump’s claim of contributing million to charities, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold contacting charities, over 350, listing his findings on legal paper and posting the list to Twitter, informing and involving the public. (NiemanLab, September 9, 2-016, by Ricardo Bilton) Since June Fahrenthold has been checking the Trump Foundation finding scant evidence […]

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Federal appeals court rules for Yelp in libel case

Yelp prevailed in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court dismissing a libel lawsuit brought by a locksmith business in Washington state. The owner said Yelp transferred a negative review about another company to his business to  force him to advertise with Yelp. The court cited a federal law holding that online content […]

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Lack of transparency hurting candidates but maybe Clinton more than Trump

Starting with failure to disclose health records, presidential candidates have not been forthcoming with the electorate. Trump refuses to release his tax returns and both Clinton and Trump have rejected the traditional arrangement of traveling with a poll of reporters. (CNN, September 13, 2016, by Stephen Collinson) Clinton appears to be suffering more from her […]

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Adult ad site Backpage argues First Amendment with Senate and Supreme Court

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary order that does not have to comply with a U.S. Senate subpoena about its editorial practices. The Senate is investigating charges that the site contains ads for sex acts by women and children forced into prostitution.  The Senate is contending that free expression must take […]

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