FOI Notes: Philippines, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, US, Ireland, Canada, Ghana, India, Research

5 January 2017

Philippines: The Office of Presidential Communications is tasked with supervising the implementation of freedom of information in all state agencies, according to an Inquirer article.

Brazil: Article 19 launches the second edition of its Practical Guide to Access to Information Act (in Portuguese), a primer that provides guidance on how to use the Brazilian law regulating access to public information. Download the booklet

Nigeria: The Free Press reports that a federal High Court ruled largely in favor of a group of activists in Edo State against the Niger Delta Development Commission. The court ordered disclosures on expenditures between 2012-2014. In another case, the court denied access to officials’ asset disclosures sought by the Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative.

Australia: A national study has backed the public’s right to know about allegations before corruption commissions, which is currently banned in South Australia, according to The Advertiser.

Mexico: The number of requests for access to public information grew 14.5% in from Jan 1 to Dec. 8, 2016, 141,160 requests, according to a Processo article (in Spanish).

Argentina: Karina Banfi, an Argentina parliamentarian and FOI advocate, writes about the implementation challenge ahead: “Desafíos en la implementación de la ley de acceso a la información pública.”

United States: The Department of Justice issues an interim rule to update its open records regulations under the amended FOIA.

United States: The Environmental Protection Agency inspector general recommends stronger guidance on Freedom of Information Act and congressional requests involving text messages. It also recommended storing messages before mobile devices are decommissioned

United States: The National Archives joins the wider archival community in adopting the Resource Description and Access (RDA) standard for its authority records.

Ghana Commentary: Cletus D Kuunifaa writes about the failure of Parliament to pass a right to information law, saying,It is baffling how our ignorant parliamentarians are still allergic to the new world information order and as a consequence of which they refused to pass the RTI bill into law.”

Ireland: Read about a case involving the complications of using private emails, reported by The Times.

Canada: Auditors are investigating five Ontario government ministries after finding that officials altered dates on FOI requests to improve their compliance statistics,” according to The Star.

India: Lots going on regarding RTI requests and the big demonetization move. “The Reserve Bank of India has refused to give information about whether the finance minister and chief economic advisor were consulted before the demonetisation decision was taken,” The Hindustan Times reports.

Transparency Research: ICTs can facilitate citizen efficacy according to an article by My Society’s Rebecca Rumbul.

Corporate Transparency: The Transparency Reporting Toolkit is a joint project by New America’s Open Technology Institute and Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. The purpose of the Toolkit is to make it easier for companies to create better transparency reports about government requests for user data.

End of 2016 Tweet: Jessica Huseman, a US investigative reporter, tweeted, “I would like to issue an apology to all my non-journalist friends for relentlessly complaining about FOIA at parties.”

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