US – FBI renders access to information more difficult

first_img RSF_en News News Help by sharing this information to go further WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalists Follow the news on United States On February 6, the FBI announced that it would no longer accept any FOIA requests by email as of March 1st, but still allow requests by fax, snail mail, and an online portal for a small number of requests that met additional requirements. These conditions, such as limiting requests to one per day and one per submission, and restricting the length of requests to 3,000 characters, are not actually required by law. FOIA is an important tool used by both journalists and the public to release government documents. One of the more notable examples of the tool’s success was when a VICE News reporter used FOIA to request all of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her time as Secretary of State. What resulted was the discovery that she had in fact used a private and unsecure email server for official government business during that time. Though the FBI declared the following day it would lift all additional restrictions for online portal submissions, the switch from email submissions to fax, snail mail or online portal submissions will still make it more difficult for citizens to access information. Adam Marshall, an attorney who specializes in FOIA at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) told RSF that “the FBI is one of the more difficult agencies to deal with when it comes to FOIA requests. They are quite opaque.” Nate Jones, Director of the FOIA project at the National Security Archive, echoes that assessment. “This is one of a long string of instances where the FBI has made it hard for the public to access information on its activities,” he said. According to Jones, it’s not enough that the FBI removed the initial restrictions to submissions via their online portal. “To eliminate the most efficient avenue that the public has used to request information is unacceptable,” Jones told RSF, especially since data shows the portal is a much less effective method than email. Jones told RSF that the FBI is not alone in restricting FOIA requests. Both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General’s office have started to restrict email submissions as well. “Given the power of FOIA requests to shed light on the activities of government agencies and their employees, we are concerned that the FBI’s changes to how they will accept requests for information will further complicate the process and negatively impact government transparency,” said Margaux Ewen, Advocacy and Communications Director for RSF North America. The United States ranks 41 out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.Image Credit: YURI GRIPAS / AFP United StatesAmericas Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says News News Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned to learn that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced that it will no longer accept requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by email as of March 1, 2017. This change in policy could prove to be a new obstacle to government transparency and access to information for one of the most important agencies within the United States government. June 3, 2021 Find out more United StatesAmericas June 7, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts February 15, 2017 US – FBI renders access to information more difficult Organisation NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say April 28, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Jeff Sutton will replace Midtown retail space with hotel

first_img Tags Email Address* Full Name* Jeff Sutton and 25 West 34th St. (Wharton Properties, Google Maps)Developer Jeff Sutton is betting big on the revival of New York City’s tourism industry.The founder of Wharton Properties filed a permit on April 29 to build a 26-story, 176,375-square-foot hotel at 25 West 34th Street, according to the Commercial Observer. The site is currently home to a 16,000-square-foot retail space that is being subleased by the fashion company Superdry. The new hotel would have 336 rooms, and retail on the ground floor.Sutton declined to comment to the Commercial Observer.The move comes at a time when the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the hotel industry. A November report found that more than 80 percent of hotels in the city that are backing CMBS loans — equivalent to $3.1 billion — are exhibiting signs of strain due to the coronavirus pandemic. That’s higher than the national average of 71 percent at the time.ADVERTISEMENTRead moreDe Blasio’s own staff says his hotel plan could cost NYC $7B Developers already eyeing commercial-to-resi conversions New York City hotels put strain on $3.1B in CMBS loans Message* Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Some developers have been eyeing commercial-to-residential conversions, with hotels as potential targets. Some lawmakers have been encouraging the potential trend, introducing bills that would include $100 million in the state budget for turning distressed commercial properties into affordable housing.Mayor Bill de Blasio has also introduced a new policy that would limit how many hotels could be built. Under the proposed plan, City Council would have to approve any new hotel built in the city. However, that may cost the city $350 million by 2025 and up to $7 billion in 2035 in lost tax revenue.[CO] — Sasha JonesContact Sasha Jones Hotel Marketjeff suttonRetail Real Estatelast_img read more

Odds & Ends: Laura Osnes & More Will Pay Tribute to Kelli O’Hara & Bartlett Sher & More

first_img Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today.Laura Osnes & More Pay Tribute to O’Hara & SherA host of Broadway favorites will pay tribute to Tony winners Kelli O’Hara and Bartlett Sher at Carnegie Hall this spring. The lineup for the previously announced New York Pops’ 34th birthday gala, honoring O’Hara and Sher, will be O’Hara’s co-stars from the Sher-helmed South Pacific: Danny Burstein and Paulo Szot and Laura Osnes, who replaced her in the revival, as well as fellow The King and I Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles. Also making appearances will be composers Jason Robert Brown and Nico Muhly. The event is set for May 1.Broadway Favorites to Sing for the Oscar Hammerstein MuseumBefore singing the praises of O’Hara, Bandstand star Osnes, as well as In Transit’s Telly Leung and James Snyder, will come together to raise money for the Oscar Hammerstein Museum & Theater Education Center. The special fundraising event will take place on March 13 at the Player’s Club and will feature performances by Osnes, Leung, Snyder, Liz Larsen, Erich Bergen, Ann Harada, Alexandra Silber, Sal Viviano and Betsy Wolfe. Proceeds will go toward acquiring the Highland Farm in Doylestown, PA, when Hammerstein lived and worked, restoring the property and developing a museum to celebrate the lyricist’s legacy. For more information and tickets, click here.Mandy Gonzalez Lets Loose on More Lin-Manuel TunesThey don’t call her “The Beast” for nothing! Check out this clip from Mandy Gonzalez’s Feinstein’s/54 Below show on February 12, in which the Hamilton star belts out a mashup of two songs from her pal Lin-Manuel Miranda: “Fire Escape” (cut from In the Heights) and Moana’s Oscar-nominated “How Far I’ll Go.” It even made Lin himself sob over in London! Once we got to that key change at the four-minute mark, we were in tears, too. Laura Osnes(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) View Commentscenter_img Kenneth Lonergan to Bring Howards End to the Small ScrenPlaywright Kenneth Lonergan, who is up for an Oscar this year for his Manchester by the Sea screenplay, will pen the TV adaptation of Howards End for BBC and Starz. According to Deadline, the limited series, based on the E.M. Forster novel, will be directed by Hettie Macdonald and star Broadway alum Tracey Ullman, Hayley Atwell and Matthew Macfadyen.last_img read more