Today, more than 30 organizations committed to government openness and accountability are calling for the immediate removal of three exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Senate National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017 (S. 2943). The FOIA exemptions would severely undermine the FOIA by creating an unnecessary secrecy provision at odds with FOIA’s goal of transparency and a carve-out to the FOIA for the Pentagon.
Coalition expresses concern over FBI proposal to exempt biometrics database from Privacy Act protections
OpenTheGovernment.org has joined a coalition of civil rights, human rights, immigrant rights, privacy and transparency organizations, and companies in expressing concern over an FBI proposal to exempt its extraordinary biometrics database – the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system --from virtually every key provision of the Privacy Act.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held an open hearing on Tuesday on Section 702, a legal provision of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) allowing warrantless acquisition of the communications of foreigners outside the U.S. The hearing marked the first formal review by the Senate of potential changes needed to Section 702 of the law, which is set to expire in December 2017.
In a show of bipartisan and bicameral support for greater access to information, Congressional leaders have requested the Government Accountability Office conduct a comprehensive review of federal agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
UPDATE: April 25, 2016 – Today, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) issued a revised rule that amends excessive fee provisions that would have restricted the ability of the public to request the declassification of classified ODNI records. The new rule reflects the joint comments submitted by OTG and 15 other organizations, as well as the comments submitted by Federation of American Scientists.
Prior to the city of Ferguson’s public fairness hearing on their consent decree with the Department of Justice, OpenTheGovernment.org Executive Director Patrice McDermott submitted comments on the need for more robust transparency provisions in the agreement.