Freedom of Information Act

In response to concerns raised by employers and to protect worker privacy, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) recently amended its recordkeeping regulations to eliminate the requirement that larger employers submit certain information electronically. The final rule rescinds the mandate that establishments with 250 or more employees had to electronically submit information from OSHA

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Part 107 waiver process for the operation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones) in certain restricted airspace or beyond the limitations of the Part 107 UAS regulations, was originally designed to streamline approval. However, for many drone operators who have had their Part 107 waivers denied, the process can often be mysterious and frustrating.  And the FAA’s public database of all approved Part 107 waivers, while useful, does not include denied waivers, which could be key for many operators in determining what information is necessary and what safety processes are desired by the FAA in order to obtain an approval.

In a recent report, the FAA’s denials were reviewed and analyzed. The information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Drone360. Drone360 received access to 1,656 denied waivers that were submitted over 247 days.
Continue Reading Part 107 Waivers: Does Your Waiver Stand a Chance?

While drone delivery services are certainly on the agendas of large retailers like Amazon, inmates in jails across the U.S. are already using drones to receive their own aerial contraband shipments. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that there have been many attempts over the past five years to transport contraband to prisoners in the U.S. from mobile phones, to drugs, and even pornography. State facilities have also reported similar incidents over the years. Drone expert and drone legislation advocate, Troy Rule, of Arizona State University, says, “Civilian drones are becoming inexpensive, easy to operate and powerful. A growing number of criminals seem to be recognizing their potential value as tools for bad deeds.” And the problem is that current anti-drone technologies fail to protect prisons against these drone deliveries. While smuggling contraband into prison through any method violates federal law, no statute currently prohibits drones from flying near correctional facilities (aside from some newly implemented local laws) – this is yet another loophole in the legislation layout of drone laws.
Continue Reading DOJ Reports on Drones Flying Contraband to Prisons

Last week, a D.C. federal judge ruled that an investigative reporter was not entitled to a 2014 cybersecurity study performed by an outside vendor detailing vulnerabilities in the Federal Election Commission’s information technology infrastructure.

David Levinthal made a Freedom of Information Act request in July 2015 contending that the study was essential to aid the public’s understanding of the FEC’s operations during the upcoming election season.  The study was designed to determine the extent of weaknesses in the FEC’s systems and whether the agency should adopt guidelines recently published by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. While the FEC produced 1,450 pages of records in response to the FOIA request that referenced the study, it refused to release the full study.Continue Reading Federal Court Rules that FEC Cybersecurity Study is Exempt from FOIA Disclosure