MuckRock

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MuckRock is a United States-based organization which assists anyone in filing governmental requests for information through the Freedom of Information Act, then publishes the returned information on its website and encourages journalism around it.

Operation[edit]

Filing requests for information through the Freedom of Information Act has been described as confusing and tedious, despite the intent that the process be public and the service available to all American citizens.[1] MuckRock partially automates the process with an interface designed to make the filing of requests easier.[1][2][3] Also, MuckRock acts as a middleman for processing the requests, so when a user makes a request through MuckRock, it is the staff of MuckRock who themselves make the request.[4] When MuckRock makes the request, they note and timestamp it on their website as proof of it being made.[4] When a reply comes to the request, MuckRock publishes and timestamps it openly so that everyone can see the reply and when it was made.[4]

Information shared[edit]

In 2010 MuckRock received a notice that the government had sent MuckRock information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program which was secret and that MuckRock must cease publishing it or its staff would face fines and jail time.[5][6] The state later said that it would not jail MuckRock staff.[7]

The Boston Police Department suspended an automatic number plate recognition program because of privacy concerns raised after a MuckRock request.[8][9]

MuckRock made numerous requests to various United States state and federal agencies regarding their work with Booz Allen Hamilton.[10] The response from the Federal Bureau of Investigation was a bill for USD $270,000 to fulfill the request.[10]

MuckRock's request to the New York City Police Department for their guidebook on responding to FOIA requests was denied due to it being a confidential document.[11]

Lawsuit[edit]

In June 2014 MuckRock sued the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act for "consistently ignoring deadlines, refusing to work with requesters, and capriciously rejecting even routine requests for what should be clearly public information".[12]

Partners[edit]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has made public records requests with MuckRock.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Faraone, Chris (17 November 2010). "MuckRock City - Media -- Dont Quote Me". The Phoenix. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Cornell, Lynette F. (6 December 2010). "MuckRock automates government records requests - Boston Business Journal". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Georgieva, Maggie (2 December 2010). "A "Legal WikiLeaks" Competing in Knight News Challenge". BostInno. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Ellis, Justin (21 October 2010). "MuckRock makes FOIA requests easy, but will reporters use it?". niemanlab.org. Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Bierman, Noah (11 November 2010). "State tells man he may be jailed for releasing data - The Boston Globe". The Boston Globe (Boston: NYTC). ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  6. ^ no author listed (13 November 2010). "SNAP shot". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Saltzman, Jonathan (12 November 2010). "State cools threat to blogger over food stamp post". The Boston Globe (Boston: NYTC). ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Musgrave, Shawn (13 December 2013). "Boston Police suspend use of high-tech licence plate readers amid privacy concerns - News Local Massachusetts". The Boston Globe (Boston: NYTC). ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Farvivar, Cyrus (14 December 2013). "Boston Police indefinitely suspends license plate reader program | Ars Technica". Ars Technica. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Masnick, Mike (1 October 2013). "FBI Wants More Than $270,000 To Respond To FOIA Request About Booz Allen". Techdirt. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Doctorow, Cory (16 March 2014). "NYPD claims its Freedom of Information Act policy is a secret 'attorney-client communications'". boingboing.net. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Jardin, Xeni (11 June 2014). "Transparency journalism site MuckRock sues CIA". boingboing.net. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Timm, Trevor (22 October 2012). "EFF and MuckRock Have Filed Over 200 Records Requests On Drones And The Results Are Pouring In". eff.org. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 

External links[edit]