This week marks the seventh annual Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. As our little way to celebrate, EFF has recently posted nearly nine thousand pages of government documents to our site. For the majority of these documents, many of which were previously classified, this is the first time these files have been added to the public domain. The documents were all obtained in conjunction with EFF’s FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project, which aims to expose the government's expanding use of new technologies and to protect civil liberties by increasing government transparency.
The trove of documents include:
- Intelligence Agencies' Misconduct Reports: nearly 2,500 pages of documents detailing reports of FBI intelligence violations submitted to the Intelligence Oversight Board from 2001 to 2008, which we reported on here
- Cross-Border Electronic Funds Transfers: almost 1,500 pages of documents related to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) proposed rule requiring reporting of all cross-border financial transactions, which we blogged about here
- DCS-5000 ("Redwolf"): approximately 3,500 pages of documents related to the FBI’s latest-generation digital collection system, the DCS-5000, codenamed "Redwolf"
- TALON Reporting: almost 200 pages of documents related to the Department of Defense's Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) reports, including the collection of information on peaceful protesters and domestic advocacy groups
- Net Neutrality Lobbying: 50 pages of documents related to records of meetings or discussions between FCC officials and representatives of telecommunications, cable, and Internet companies and organizations concerning potential net neutrality regulations
- Printer Dots: almost 700 pages of documents related to federal government agencies' use of "printer dots" -- tracking codes embedded in pages printed from certain printers
EFF also posted supplemental responses to three other FOIA requests concerning national security letters (23 pages (pdf)), the government's use of pen registers (185 pages), and international traveler data sharing (219 pages).
"A democracy," it has been said, "cannot function unless the people are permitted to know what their government is up to." And that's exactly why we do what we do: the FLAG Project's goal is to make our democracy stronger by exposing and challenging threats to our civil liberties in a networked world. But increasing government transparency and accountability isn't something we can do alone. We need your help, too -- whether it's by helping us review FOIA releases, by taking action, or by supporting our work, our ability to increase transparency is only as strong as our network. So this week, go ahead and join us -- let a little sunshine in.