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By CHARLES N. DAVIS | March 12, 2006
The phone rings, again. On the line is a citizen from North Carolina, or a journalist from Indiana, or a college student from Oklahoma. The names and places don't really matter; in the course of a year, the National Freedom of Information Coalition and its 40 member state groups will receive hundreds of similar calls. The callers want government information, and they need our help. For so many of them, the episodic battles against governmental secrecy mean nothing; they simply want the information they need to monitor their school board, or their planning and zoning officials, or their police department.
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By David Zurawik and The Baltimore Sun | July 14, 2011
I honestly don't know if I have the emotional energy for this post today. I fought this battle in 2009 when the White House went to war with Fox, and I have the scars to prove it. I am so tired of standing up for journalistic principles in the middle of ideological battlefields and getting hammered from partisans on both sides that some days I think I'm crazy to do it. But either you believe in these journalistic and ethical principles or...
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NEWS
By DAVID O. STEWART | July 4, 2006
"Kicking and screaming," according to one who was there, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act at his Texas ranch on Independence Day in 1966. On its 40th birthday, the aging FOIA needs help from a Congress that is learning the high costs of secret government, and from executive agencies that too often ignore that lesson. The problems with the FOIA could not be more current as radio talk shows thump The New York Times for having the temerity to inform Americans about what their government is doing.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,michael.dresser@baltsun.com | March 15, 2009
If you want to use the Internet to view the inspection report on your aged parent's nursing home, Maryland's the place to be. But if you want to do an online check on the certification of your child's teacher, you're out of luck. A new report shows that Maryland's government is neither as transparent as Texas' nor as opaque as Mississippi's in the information offered on its Web sites. The Free State, tied for 18th place out of 50, can claim to be on the clear side of translucent government.
NEWS
by a sun reporter | August 30, 2006
The Department of Planning and Zoning has modified a policy that required the public to file a Freedom of Information Act request when seeking information or access to files regarding Turf Valley, the planned community in western Ellicott City. Marsha S. McLaughlin, director of the department, said instead the public need only to make an appointment with her administrative aide to review the files or obtain copies of documents. "My intent is to ensure that you and other members of the public have full access to all available information about the various Turf Valley files, in a manner that allows us to ensure the integrity of the files, provides you with accurate responses to any questions, and minimizes the demand on DPZ staff resources, which are already stretched to meet their many responsibilities," McLaughlin said in an e-mail to Marc Norman, a critic of the planned expansion of Turf Valley.
NEWS
By Jan C. Greenburg and Jan C. Greenburg,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | November 13, 2002
WASHINGTON - Taking up Congress' efforts to protect children from indecent material on the Internet, the Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would decide the constitutionality of a federal law that requires public libraries to use filtering software on computers used by the public. A trial court struck down the law earlier this year, ruling that the filters wrongly blocked thousands of Web pages containing speech Congress never intended to regulate, including sites on politics, religion, women's health issues and sports.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | August 19, 2004
NEW YORK - A federal judge in Manhattan has ordered the government to release information on the treatment of detainees at military bases or other facilities overseas, including official policies and records sought by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act. The judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein of U.S. District Court in Manhattan, signed the order Tuesday. It was made public yesterday and was hailed as a victory by the ACLU, which originally sought the information last October.
NEWS
By Scott Shane and Scott Shane,SUN STAFF | July 28, 1997
Three decades ago, when Congress opened government files to public scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act, the rhetoric was all about crusading journalists, truth-seeking historians and the people's right to know.No one talked about giving businesses an edge in bidding for government contracts. Or financing research for personal injury lawyers. Or helping politicians dig up dirt on their opponents.But laws take on a life of their own. Today, a typical user of the Freedom of Information Act might be Ronald Draughon, who bombards federal agencies with about 25 demands for documents each week.
NEWS
By A Sun Reporter | August 27, 2006
The battle over the planned expansion of Turf Valley is being fought on so many fronts that sometimes it's hard to keep them straight. And like virtually every other issue related to the luxury development, the latest one has separated the parties diametrically. Opponents of the development accuse the county of trying to thwart them by throwing up unreasonable obstacles to access to public information.
NEWS
By Jonathan Dann and J. Michael Kennedy and Jonathan Dann and J. Michael Kennedy,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | July 29, 2001
At the same time he was selling U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union, former FBI Special Agent Robert Philip Hanssen was a key supervisor in a 1980s domestic-spying program questioning the loyalty of U.S. citizens and monitoring their activities, newly obtained FBI documents show. In this program, federal agents filed reports on teachers, clerics and political activists who were primarily affiliated with liberal causes. FBI domestic spy operations under the Reagan and first Bush administrations came to light a decade ago, prompting congressional rebukes.
NEWS
by a sun reporter | August 30, 2006
The Department of Planning and Zoning has modified a policy that required the public to file a Freedom of Information Act request when seeking information or access to files regarding Turf Valley, the planned community in western Ellicott City. Marsha S. McLaughlin, director of the department, said instead the public need only to make an appointment with her administrative aide to review the files or obtain copies of documents. "My intent is to ensure that you and other members of the public have full access to all available information about the various Turf Valley files, in a manner that allows us to ensure the integrity of the files, provides you with accurate responses to any questions, and minimizes the demand on DPZ staff resources, which are already stretched to meet their many responsibilities," McLaughlin said in an e-mail to Marc Norman, a critic of the planned expansion of Turf Valley.
NEWS
By A Sun Reporter | August 27, 2006
The battle over the planned expansion of Turf Valley is being fought on so many fronts that sometimes it's hard to keep them straight. And like virtually every other issue related to the luxury development, the latest one has separated the parties diametrically. Opponents of the development accuse the county of trying to thwart them by throwing up unreasonable obstacles to access to public information.
NEWS
By DAVID O. STEWART | July 4, 2006
"Kicking and screaming," according to one who was there, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act at his Texas ranch on Independence Day in 1966. On its 40th birthday, the aging FOIA needs help from a Congress that is learning the high costs of secret government, and from executive agencies that too often ignore that lesson. The problems with the FOIA could not be more current as radio talk shows thump The New York Times for having the temerity to inform Americans about what their government is doing.
NEWS
By RICHARD A. SERRANO and RICHARD A. SERRANO,LOS ANGELES TIMES | June 10, 2006
POLLOCK, La. -- Richard Lee McNair's job in the prison factory was mending U.S. mailbags. Thousands of the pouches were routinely delivered to the shop at the federal maximum-security penitentiary here, and the middle-aged convict worked quietly each day, stitching them back up. Refurbished bags were stacked on pallets, hundreds in a pile. McNair watched for four months as forklifts scooped up the pallets and hauled them to a warehouse outside the prison walls. One morning they carried off McNair - hidden under the bags.
NEWS
By CHARLES N. DAVIS | March 12, 2006
The phone rings, again. On the line is a citizen from North Carolina, or a journalist from Indiana, or a college student from Oklahoma. The names and places don't really matter; in the course of a year, the National Freedom of Information Coalition and its 40 member state groups will receive hundreds of similar calls. The callers want government information, and they need our help. For so many of them, the episodic battles against governmental secrecy mean nothing; they simply want the information they need to monitor their school board, or their planning and zoning officials, or their police department.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | August 19, 2004
NEW YORK - A federal judge in Manhattan has ordered the government to release information on the treatment of detainees at military bases or other facilities overseas, including official policies and records sought by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act. The judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein of U.S. District Court in Manhattan, signed the order Tuesday. It was made public yesterday and was hailed as a victory by the ACLU, which originally sought the information last October.
NEWS
By Ariel Sabar and Ariel Sabar,SUN STAFF | May 16, 2003
The National Security Agency, one of the country's most clandestine agencies, is seeking to cloak its activities in what critics say is another layer of secrecy. Legislation headed for the Senate floor would let the global eavesdropping agency automatically turn down requests by citizens for files on how the NSA collects intelligence. NSA officials say that they routinely deny requests for so-called "operational files" and that the legislation would simply free the agency's staff from the time-consuming task of searching for and reviewing those files before sending out rejection letters.
NEWS
By Frank D. Roylance and Frank D. Roylance,Evening Sun Staff | September 30, 1991
A federal judge in New Jersey has ordered the U.S. government to provide a Baltimore writer and his co-author access to some, but not all, of the previously secret documents they had sought for a book on the 1934 Morro Castle steamship fire.Frederick N. Rasmussen, of Riderwood, and Robert J. McDonnell, of Lakehurst, N.J., filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act more than three years ago after the FBI and the Navy repeatedly blocked their access to key documents.The historians think the ship was tied to politically embarrassing gun-running to both sides in a Cuban revolution half a century ago, but the government has tried to keep the details under wraps.
NEWS
By Ariel Sabar and Ariel Sabar,SUN STAFF | May 16, 2003
The National Security Agency, one of the country's most clandestine agencies, is seeking to cloak its activities in what critics say is another layer of secrecy. Legislation headed for the Senate floor would let the global eavesdropping agency automatically turn down requests by citizens for files on how the NSA collects intelligence. NSA officials say that they routinely deny requests for so-called "operational files" and that the legislation would simply free the agency's staff from the time-consuming task of searching for and reviewing those files before sending out rejection letters.
NEWS
By Jan C. Greenburg and Jan C. Greenburg,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | November 13, 2002
WASHINGTON - Taking up Congress' efforts to protect children from indecent material on the Internet, the Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would decide the constitutionality of a federal law that requires public libraries to use filtering software on computers used by the public. A trial court struck down the law earlier this year, ruling that the filters wrongly blocked thousands of Web pages containing speech Congress never intended to regulate, including sites on politics, religion, women's health issues and sports.
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