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Russian hackers suspected of hitting New York Times

The FBI suspects that hacker attacks on the New York Times and other U.S. news outlets are directed by the Russian intelligence and part of earlier reported hacks of the Democratic Party. The hackers direct many of their resources against reporters to gain knowledge of government contacts and sensitive information from unpublished articles. (CNN, August  […]

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New Pentagon proposals for FOIA changes would hurt transparency

Transparency advocates asked Congress to oppose new Defense Department proposals to block reform of the Freedom of Information Act. The department wants a new exemption that is overly broad and could be used to shield information that should be made available to the public. The exemption would allow the department to withhold “information about unclassified […]

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Federal appeals court strikes down free speech restriction for Kentucky judicial candidates

Kentucky judges and judicial candidates can elect to ally with a political party as the 6th Circuit ruled that the state judicial commission violated a judicial candidate’s free speech rights by censoring “lifelong Republican” from his campaign materials. The court found that the policies preventing judges from asking for campaign donations and endorsing political candidates […]

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Content disappears from Google News Archive without notice

In 2008 Google News Archive promised to scan, archive and release the world’s newspapers in a public database. It shut down in 2011 but by then had archived over 2,000 newspapers. Yet, this year listings for the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel disappeared from the archive with no advance notice or explanation, […]

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Terrorism and free speech: Britain’s Choudary shows difficulties of stemming proselytizing

The British Muslim extremist Anjem Choudary was convicted last week after 20 years of radicalizing young people and urging them to engage in terrorism. His case demonstrates how difficult it is to convict someone like Choudary even in Great Britain where free speech is not as staunch as it is in the U.S. Here it […]

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The free press: Post mortems on Gawker

Commentators are lamenting Gawker’s shutdown after the company lost a $140 million verdict in a defamation lawsuit funded by billionaire Peter Thiel. Stephen Marche, Esquire, August 18, 2016, fears that the Gawker takedown provides a blueprint for others with immense wealth to demolish any media outlet that takes them on. And Marche thinks Thiel favors […]

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Drones close to becoming a staple in news reporting

With new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines on the commercial use of drones in effect this month, CNN is grabbing the initiative by establishing a new division, CNN AIR, for aerial imagery and reporting. Two full-time drone operators will operate a fleet of a dozen or more drones. CNN thinks drones will improve reporting by […]

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Christie signs bill to hurt companies boycotting Israel

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie approved a law that bans state investments in companies boycotting Israel. Christie expressed support for Israel as a “beacon of democracy” in the Middle East. The bill met little opposition in the New Jersey assembly and senate. (Courier-Post, August 16, 2016, by John C. Ensslin) The new law requires the […]

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Transparency: Iowa agrees to end secrecy in bids for public contracts

Iowa now requires private businesses to forego redaction of documents supporting bids for public contracts. To omit information they must now justify their requests under existing Iowa law. Allowing redaction had shut out the public in judging awards particularly in 2015 when private companies shielded information in bidding to manage Iowa’s $4.2 million Medicaid program. […]

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Supreme Court may reconsider landmark libel law decision

The Supreme Court may take on a review of Times v. Sullivan in the case of Armstrong v. Thompson. Armstrong contended that as a criminal investigator for the Treasury Department he had been improperly categorized as a “public figure” making it difficult to win a defamation case against a colleague who made complaints about him […]

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