On March 2, 2015, The New York Times reported that Hilary Clinton, during her tenure as Secretary of State, may have violated federal regulations by using her personal e-mail to conduct government business. The report says that Clinton aides took no measures to preserve the personal emails on the department servers, which is required by the Federal Records Act.
The FCC released the National Broadband Plan today, setting out ambitious goals for how the federal government conducts business in cyberspace. The Plan targets several concrete goals, including
- 100 million homes with affordable access to 100 megabit per second internet access.
- At least one institutional (e.g., hospital or university) connection at one gigabit per second in every community.
Closer to open local government’s home, the Plan’s “Civic Engagement” chapter may raise the bar for municipalities in providing access to records and officials. Although the Plan is directed to the federal government, citizens are likely to expect the same level of service from all government agencies, including their local city hall.
Here is another article from Florida on whether governments should use web 2.0 sites:
“Attorneys, legislators to pull plug on Marco government’s use of social Web sites? Increased accessibility to candidates and officials, public records concerns among the pros and cons being considered in use of Facebook, Twitter”
Spies should also stay off Facebook: “British spy chief outed on wife’s Facebook page”
When the U.S. Forest Service was considering whether to fire whistle-blower Glen Ith back in 2007, its ethics chief was keenly aware that his emails on the topic were public records, subject to discover. His solution? Instruct all recipients to destroy the emails:
This information is for your eyes only. Please destroy after reading. It’s not protected by privilege and is subject to discovery.
Melvin Y. Shibuya
Chief, Labor/Employee Relations Branch
He repeated similar warnings in subsequent emails.
Here is a link to an article that includes these excerpts from those emails.
Justice has prevailed, at least sort of. Mr. Ith died of a heart attack while on administrative leave, after his job was "downsized" but his widow was recently awarded all of her litigation cost.
On Tuesday, June 9, the Chair of Foster Pepper’s Public Disclosure Team and editor of this blog, Ramsey Ramerman, will be arguing two cases on behalf of the City of Federal Way in the Washington State Supreme Court. Here are the issue statements from the Supreme Court’s website:
City of Federal Way v. Koenig:
Open Government—Public Disclosure—“Local Agency”—What Constitutes—Municipal Court
Whether the Federal Way Municipal Court is a “local agency” subject to the disclosure requirements of the Public Records Act, chapter 42.56 RCW.
As reported by the Huffington Post, President Obama has now included a provision in a war-funding bill that would protect the detainee abuse photos from disclosure.
McLatchy Reports: “Why’d Obama switch on detainee photos? Maliki went ballistic.” While fear of foreign uprisings may not be an exemption under FOIA, maybe it should be.
Not only has President Obama maintained Bush’s position on "state secrets" in the U.S. — claiming a civil lawsuit must be dismissed because the plaintiff’s evidence are "state secrets" — he is now threatening the British Government if they allow U.S. "state secrets" to be used in a civil suit in that country.
Here is a post from Og-Blog on the open government record of Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court.
Here is an editorial on the "torture memos" from the Olympian written by the editor of this blog, Ramsey Ramerman. It was inspired by George Will’s recent statement on ABC’s This Week: "The problem with transparency is that it’s transparent for the terrorists as well.”
Update 5/13: Here’s the Og-Blog’s take on the editorial. As it correctly notes, President Obama’s administration has not been as transparent as many had hoped, particularly with regards to the Federal Reserve and the AIG bailout.