Nova Scotia filled its public Freedom of Information Archive with citizens' private data, then arrested the teen who discovered it

A 19 year old in Nova Scotia wanted to learn more about the provincial teachers' dispute, so he filed some Freedom of Information requests; he wasn't satisfied with the response so he decided to dig through other documents the province had released under open records laws to look for more, but couldn't find a search tool that was adequate to the job. Read the rest

Trump Hotel employee guide: no swearing, no sexually suggestive gestures, and DO NOT hire your family!

The Daily Beast and Property of the People used the Freedom of Information Act to force the National Labor Relations Board to release the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas employee handbook, which was introduced into evidence during a 2015 lawsuit over union busting. Read the rest

FCC refuses public records request about Ajit Pai's monumentally unfunny "comedy" videos

In the runup to his execution of Net Neutrality, Trump FCC Chairbeast Ajit Pai released a video on The Daily Caller, a far-right site; as a work of comedy, it was every bit as lame as the sketch he performed for telcoms lobbyists in which he "joked" about being a shill for his former employer, Verion. Read the rest

"Kingpin: The Hunt for El Chapo": Game designers review the CIA's declassified tabletop training game

Douglas Palmer got wind of a classified CIA program to create board games to train spies, so he used a series of Freedom of Information Act requests to get copies of two of these games: the first is called "Kingpin: The Hunt for El Chapo" and the second (which the CIA revealed to a SXSW audience in 2017) is called "Collection Deck." Read the rest

EFF awards the Foilies to the government agencies with the worst transparency for 2018

The annual Foilie Awards are out; the Electronic Frontier Foundation hands out these sardonic "awards" to the government entities whose Freedom of Information Act responses were the most heel-dragging, kakfaesque, and pointless. Read the rest

Geek Squad's secret spying on behalf of the FBI went on for a decade and involved constant, ongoing collaboration

A 2017 prosecution of a California doctor charged with possessing child pornography revealed that the FBI had been tipped off by a Best Buy technician the doctor had paid to service his computer; the technician had searched his computer and then provided evidence to the FBI, sidestepping the need for the FBI to obtain a warrant. Read the rest

Motherboard files legal complaint against London police to force it to explain why an officer bought creepy, potential illegal stalkerware

Flexispy is the creepy stalkerware advertised to abusive spouses and exes that Motherboard's Joseph Cox has been relentlessly tracking; when he acquired a leaked trove of the company's files, he started to mine it to see who was buying the potentially illegal app. Read the rest

GOP candidate Rick Saccone hates government waste, bills the taxpayer like crazy on his own personal expenses, which totalled $435,172

Rick Saccone (@Saccone4PA18) is the Republican challenger for the seat vacated by Tim Murphy, the Pennsylvania anti-abortion Congressman who resigned after being outed for pressuring his pregnant mistress to get an abortion. Read the rest

Property of the People sues the FBI for details on "Gravestone," its reassuringly named secret mass-surveillance tool

In 2016, the watchdog group Property of the People discovered a secret FBI spying program called Gravestone, a mention of which slipped into the metadata of a document on the DoJ's website. Read the rest

EPA employees who spoke out about Trump are having their emails ransacked, and the EPA's new "monitoring" firm is linked to a GOP oppo research firm

America Rising, a GOP oppo research firm, has filed a slew of Freedom of Information requests seeking access to EPA employees' email, targeting employees who criticized Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, or EPA policies, or who participated in union rallies against cuts; the requests target communications that mention Trump officials or are addressed to Democrats in Congress. Read the rest

After a Freedom of Information lawsuit, the White House visitor logs are now available online as a free searchable database

The DC-based transparency group Property of the People successfully sued the White House to force it to disclose its visitor logs; now, in collaboration with Propublica, those logs are online as a free, searchable database. Read the rest

The FBI's Nikola Tesla files

The FBI published 160 pages of its files on inventor Nikola Tesla last year, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request. It's gone viral, perhaps due to the slavering anticipation of the forthcoming JFK Assassination files release.[via]

Yes to Peace Rays! Read the rest

Taser says its weapons don't kill people, so Reuters built a massive database of 1000+ Taser deaths

The official party line from Taser -- who make less-lethal electrical weapons as well as a range of police body-cameras and other forensic devices -- is that its weapons don't kill ("no one has died directly from the device’s shock"). Reuters reporters who heard this claim decided it was highly suspect and took action, mining America's court records to find "150 autopsy reports citing Tasers as a cause or contributor to deaths," and that those deaths were disproportionately inflicted on "society’s vulnerable – unarmed, in psychological distress and seeking help" -- all told, they found 1005 deaths in which Tasers were implicated. Read the rest

European Commission spent 360,000€ on a piracy study, then buried it because they didn't like what it said

Estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU is a 360,000€ study commissioned by the European Commission from the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys, whose mandate was to "research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content" -- the report was completed in 2015, but never made public. Read the rest

To avoid honoring FOIA requests, some governments are suing requesters

Freedom of information requests for public records are getting harder to complete, especially now that some governments are suing requesters. Read the rest

Four years later, we learn why Jamie Dimon's JP Morgan Chase settled US fraud allegations for $13B

In 2013, DOJ lawyers showed JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon a draft of a 92-page complaint against his bank. Dimon coughed up $13B to settle the case, and the complaint was sealed, leaving us all to wonder exactly what kind of red-handed fraud convinced Dimon to part with what was then the largest financial misconduct settlement in US history. Read the rest

Every meeting and trip the FCC's neutricidal chairman Ajit Pai took since Trump's inauguration

Russ writes, "Via a FOIA request I made, this is Ajit Pai's detailed schedule from January 20 to the end of June. Shows who he met with, where he traveled, etc." Read the rest

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