March 16, 2008 | By David Sobel

EFF Celebrates Sunshine Week

The principles of open government are promoted and celebrated each year during Sunshine Week — observed this year March 16-22. The weeklong initiative is built around National Freedom of Information Day, which has been celebrated since the 1970s on March 16, James Madison’s birthday. Madison is regarded as "the father of freedom of information" based upon his observation that "a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."

EFF is proud to be a part of the open government community and, through our aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we strive to promote the disclosure of government information concerning technology policies. Through our FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project, we have initiated numerous FOIA requests and lawsuits on topics ranging from FBI surveillance technology to Pentagon efforts to censor military bloggers. Through our FOIA work, we attempt to make important information available to members of Congress, to the news media and — by posting all the material we obtain on our website — to the public at-large. (We also partner with other public interest groups through a collective repository of FOIA-obtained material, http://www.governmentdocs.org).

EFF is also pleased to announce that it has updated and expanded the Bloggers' FAQ on the Freedom of Information Act to provide more information about how to use the law to ask for government records, as well as explain the practical effect of recent changes to the FOIA.

An important measure of our success in prying loose information from reluctant federal agencies is the amount of news coverage generated by our disclosures. Since the inception of the FLAG project in September 2006, documents obtained through our efforts have formed the basis for a number of significant news stories, some of which have appeared on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

A representative sampling of these articles are highlighted here.


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