FBI opened a file on George Carlin for telling "bad taste" Hoover jokes

Michael from Muckrock writes, "After George Carlin satirized FBI and J. Edgar Hoover in a bit "considered to be in very poor taste" (but which was incredibly tame by Carlin standards), the Bureau took a special interest in the famed comedian, starting a file and sending out queries across the country as to Carlin's loyalties and background." Read the rest

Kansas officials stonewall mathematician investigating voting machine "sabotage"

Wichita State University's Beth Clarkson (who is also chief statistician of WSU's National Institute for Aviation Research) discovered "odd patterns" in Kansas electoral voting records, so she requested public docs to help her get to the bottom of things -- requests that state officials ignored, dodged, and stalled. Read the rest

Help EFF and Muckrock find out how your biometrics are being tracked

Mike from Muckrock sez, "Police departments are increasingly tracking your face, your fingerprints, your tattoos -- and even your DNA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock are working to uncover how local agencies are tracking you and bring some much-needed transparency to the murky world of biometric surveillance through a free public records audit. Read the rest

Check whether Hacking Team demoed cyberweapons for your local cops

Michael from Muckrock sez, "Turns out death squads aren't the only agencies buying Hacking Squad's controversial spyware. Town from Miami Shores, FL to Eugene, OR appeared on a list of US agencies that received demonstrations from the hacked surveillance vendor. MuckRock has mapped out who was on the lists, and is working to FOIA what these towns actually bought, if anything. Check and see if your city is on the map." Read the rest

Paul Erdős's FBI file

Michael from Muckrock sez, "A Hungarian born in the early 20th century, Paul Erdős, mathematician, was well-known and well-liked, the sort of eccentric scientist from the Soviet sphere that made Feds' ears perk up in mid-century America." Read the rest

IRS responds to records request with encrypted CD full of blacked-out documents

Michael sez, "Sometimes a simple 'no' can be better than what agencies consider a response when it comes to Freedom of Information. J. Pat Brown over at FOIA powerhouse MuckRock discovered that the hard way when, after a request for information on information about the IRS's whisteblower office resulted in documents being sent on a CD ... that was fully encrypted ... using a Windows only app ... where the password was sent along in a separate letter." Read the rest

Laura Poitras sues the US Government to find out why she was repeatedly detained in airports

The Oscar-winning documentarian, who directed Citizenfour, was detained and searched over 50 times, but the breaking-point was when the US Government refused to respond to her Freedom of Information Act request for the reasons for her harassment. Read the rest

McKinney, TX wants $79K to retreive emails of the cop who tackled bikini-clad teen

McKinney is Texas's worst-ranked city for open records requests, and says that it will have to hire a programmer to write entirely new code to search its old, "unsearchable" email system for the emails of Officer Eric Casebolt, who made headlines by tackling a young black girl in a bikini at a pool party and threatening her with his gun. Read the rest

How the UK Prime Minister's office gets around Freedom of Information requests

Weeks before the 2005 Freedom of Information Act came into effect, Tony Blair's government instituted a policy of automatically purging all calendar items and emails after three months. Read the rest

Emails: corporate lobbyist thanks US Trade Rep for pasting his wish-list right into TPP

A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit has extracted emails between corporate lobbyists and US Trade Rep officials working on the secretive, corrupt Trans Pacific Partnership treaty. Read the rest

On Allen Ginsberg's 89th birthday, read his FBI file

Mike from Muckrock sez, "'My name is Allen Ginsberg and I sleep with whoever I want.' So noted the FBI, in its 89 pages tracking the life, lovers, and political activism of the American poet, who was born this day in 1926." Read the rest

FBI replies to Stingray Freedom of Information request with 5,000 blank pages

The Stingray -- a fake cellphone tower that gathers identity/location information on everyone who passes it -- is the worst-kept secret in law enforcement, but that doesn't stop feds from going to absurd lengths to pretend they don't use them. Read the rest

Lifting the lid on Scientology's fatally woo version of rehab

Michael from Muckrock sez, "Scientology-linked Narcanon (not to be confused with Narcotics Anonymous) has a murky history of putting vitamins and exercise over science and medical detox practices." Read the rest

Canada's Tories say the government's new slogan is a state secret

Stephen Harper's government has spent millions of tax dollars advertising the upcoming Canada Day celebration with the slogan "Strong, proud, free," which also happens to be awfully close to their election slogan. Read the rest

Here's the TSA's stupid, secret list of behavioral terrorism tells

The ACLU is suing the TSA to get the details of its billion-dollar junk-science "behavioral detection" program, but in the meantime, here's the leaked 92-point checklist the TSA's psychic warriors use to spot bad guys. Read the rest

Transparency, New Jersey style

Efrem writes, "The Jersey Journal is doing some good work during Sunshine Week, trying to publish the pay information of every public employee in the county. The results have been hilariously depressing. To whit:" Read the rest

Jeb Bush sold patronage and favors to his top political donors

The AP analysis of Bush's 275,000 FOIA'ed emails show that "donations" to his campaign were really more like "purchases." Read the rest

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