On his first day in office, President Obama took the advice of EFF and other nonprofits, ordering federal agencies to share more information with the public — particularly emphasizing openness in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. This is a great first step, but we need your support to make sure it becomes a reality.
Over the past two and a half years, EFF has filed hundreds of FOIA requests and made thousands of pages of once-secret documents available to the public on our website. Our FOIA work has revealed details about the FBI’s improper use of National Security Letters, which helped prompt Senator Leahy to call for an investigation of former Attorney General Gonzales shortly before Gonzales’ resignation. We’ve also uncovered the Department of Homeland Security's internal policies on searching and interrogating travelers at the border, as well as information about the technology the government uses to wiretap cell phones.
As part of Sunshine Week, we're posting scores of never-before seen documents on several controversial government initiatives, including the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse and DCS 3000 surveillance program, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Automated Targeting System and ADVISE data-mining project. We're also making all of our FOIA documents more accesssible than ever before with a new search tool that will let anyone conduct keyword searches across all the documents in our collection.
We're also currently fighting in the courts for a broad range of additional records, including documentation of the telecom carriers' lobbying efforts regarding their role in warrantless wiretapping, and for information about secret negotiations over international intellectual property law.
Of course, the release of these new documents is just one step in the ongoing fight for greater government transparency. Already, despite President Obama's memo, lawyers at the Department of Justice appear to be sticking to the Bush administration's policy of keeping information secret. In these situations, EFF will continue to pressure the government to remember its obligations to transparency and to the public.
Sunshine Week, celebrated March 15-22, is a perfect time to support the principles of open government and freedom of information. With your support, EFF will continue to advocate and litigate in support of a more transparent, honest government. Donate to EFF during Sunshine Week, and help shine a light on government secrets! It's time to make open government a reality.