For much of her career in government service, Miriam Nisbet has been on the cutting edge of the intersection of digital technology and the Freedom of Information Act. But more than 35 years after she began government service in 1978, Nisbet will leave her post as the government's top FOIA ombudsman at the end of November to take a break and pursue a career in the private sector.
The Postal Service is logging all mail for law enforcement agencies and the program is far reaching, an Oct. 28 New York Times article says. In July 2013, New York Times reported that two programs tracked mail for the federal government: a surveillance system called "mail covers" and a more expansive program called the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program.
The Homeland Security Department's backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests nearly doubled in fiscal 2013 – rising to 51,761 – due to record-setting requests for immigration-related records, a recently released departmental report said.
A subcommittee of the Freedom of Information Act Advisory Committee is undertaking a massive information gathering project to survey the current state of FOIA oversight, and review what problems have been identified and corrective actions taken over the past 10 years.
The Internal Revenue Service failed to comply with 11 percent of its Freedom of Information Act requests, a recently released Sept. 17 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report says. The IRS relies on disclosure personnel to ensure that information requests received under the FOIA are handled timely and in accordance with laws and regulations.
Police use of a device that lets officers zero in on the location of cellphones – and thereby persons of interest or suspects – is being kept under wraps by the FBI, according to a document released last month through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency violated government ethics rules by using her government position to endorse a product she developed for a company she founded, an internal Defense Department probe found.
The newly created expanded Freedom of Information Act advisory committee set oversight of the FOIA process, increased proactive disclosure and eliminating fees as their top priorities at a June 24 meeting. The committee is comprised of government members and 10 non-governmental members with FOIA expertise. The group was created through the second Open Government National Action Plan with and charged studying FOIA across the government and advising on ways to improve FOIA.
Hundreds of complaints of abuse by Border Patrol agents resulted in almost no action, according to FOIA data obtained by the American Immigration Council.
The National Archives and Records Administration will create a committee to improve the way the government process Freedom of Information Act request, a May 5 Federal Register notice says. "NARA has determined that the creation of the FOIA Advisory Committee is in the public interest due to the expertise and valuable advice the Committee members will provide on issues related to improving the administration of FOIA," the notice says.