FOI Notes: User Tips, UK, Mexico, Japan, Zambia, Canada, Environmental Transparency

24 December 2014

FOI User Tricks: Tips (and Spanish version) for using FOI penned by independent Mexican journalist Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, who shared a Pulitzer Prize with New York Times reporter David Barstow for their investigation into Walmart’s expansion in Mexico that required more than 800 FOIA requests.

There’s more detail, but in brief:

  1. Explore alternate routes.
  2. Study the tool.
  3. Be careful what you ask for.
  4. What do they mean by information?
  5. Do some talking.
  6. Be prepared for pushback.
  7. Your identity.
  8. The conspiracy theory.

United Kingdom: Jon Baines in his blog, Information Right and Wrongs, discusses a speech by Information Commissioner Christopher Graham and compares the UK and Scottish appeals systems.

Mexico: The Federal Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection creates a web tool, Travel Claros, to provide information about national and international travel by public servants. (Description in Spanish.)

Canada: 2014 in review by Vicent Gogolek, Executive Director, BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, titled, “Access to Info Was Mostly Gloomy With Some Rays of Light in 2014.”

Zambia: In The Times of Zambia, regarding data portals, Charles Simengwa writes:

The launch of the e-Government statistical data portals will help Zambia reach a higher plane of achievements, especially that it comes at a time when countries on the African continent are seeking to draw maximum benefits from Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Now that the statistical data portals, an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), have been rolled out, Zambia should consider complementing them with open data platforms.

Japan: An article in The Japan Times says, “A Japanese Internet activist and academic is challenging the recently enacted state secrets law by setting up a website aimed at making it easier for government officials to leak sensitive information to the media without getting caught.” The website uses an open source platform called GlobaLeaks developed by the Europe-based Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights, said Masayuki Hatta, an economics lecturer at Surugadai University.

Environmental Transparency: “A growing suite of digital tools is emerging to better manage the world’s natural resources write Stephanie Ratté, a project coordinator and research analyst with the Governance of Forests Initiatives; Carole Excell, the project director of The Access Initiative at the World Resources Institute and Lauren Williams, an associate with the Governance of Forests Initiative, leading engagement in the Congo Basin.

Holiday FOI: The Twelve Days of FOI Christmas by Jonathan Baines. One verse:

On the third day of Xmas FOI revealed to me 3 pinched hens*, two turtle docs and cartridges for the army

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