A Boston Police cruiser is marked with crime scene tape outside the scene after a burning propane tank was left near an unoccupied police cruiser in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 20, 2017.  REUTERS/Josh Reynolds

Massachusetts Law Prohibiting Secret Audio Recordings of Government Officials and Police Ruled Unconstitutional

December 11, 2018: The Reversal Was In Response To Challenges Brought by the ACLU and Project Veritas A Massachusetts law that banned secret audio recording of government and police officials performing their duties in public was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Boston. “On the core constitutional issue, the Court holds that secret audio recording of government officials, including[Read More…]

December 13, 2018 Access, Secrecy, Top Stories
First Amendment Coalition Sues DOJ Over Seizure Of Reporter’s Records

First Amendment Coalition Sues DOJ Over Seizure Of Reporter’s Records

September 19, 2018: FAC: Justice Department Violated FOIA By Withholding Documents The First Amendment Coalition filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice in federal court in San Francisco alleging that the DOJ violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by failing to provide the documents related to the secret collection of a journalist’s phone and email records.  FAC[Read More…]

September 20, 2018 FOIA, Press, Secrecy, Top Stories

Second Lawsuit Filed By Former Ad Exec Over Allegations Made By Anonymous Instagram Diet Madison Avenue

July 1, 2018: Ex-Ad Exec Suing Instagram Account, Former Employer For Defamatory Statements And Wrongful Termination A former advertising executive sued the anonymous Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue for defamation last month and is now suing his former agency Crispin Proter & Bogursky and its holding company MDC Partners. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the District[Read More…]

July 3, 2018 Secrecy, Speech, Top Stories
Are Media Blackouts the New Norm?

Are Media Blackouts the New Norm?

Gag orders or standard practice of administrations in transition?

Did White House Staff Sign Away Their First Amendment Rights?

Did White House Staff Sign Away Their First Amendment Rights?

The Washington Post reports that senior White House staffers in President Trump’s administration were asked to sign long-term nondisclosure agreements which would prevent them from revealing confidential information. These agreements extended beyond the normal confidentiality obligations around classified information or attorney-client privilege and included fines if they were broken. What exactly is the law that would govern NDAs? Heidi Kitrosser of the University of Minnesota told Reuters that “These NDAs strike me as clearly unconstitutional under the First Amendment” because the First Amendment protects free speech from government restriction, and White House personnel are employed by the government not by President Trump. This is not absolute in all cases. In Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled public employees can be fired or otherwise disciplined for speech connected to their jobs. Several scholars suggested that President Trump does not need NDAs at all – he can just fire employees who have divulged confidential information.

March 21, 2018 Secrecy, Speech