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Clinic Files Amicus Brief Arguing for Broader Access to Government Databases Through FOIA

BKC Cyberlaw Clinic instructional fellows Kendra Albert and Mason Kortz filed an amicus brief this week to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that advocates for a new approach to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests relating to databases in order to support data journalists, professors of journalism, and five media-related organizations in their ongoing work. 

The Cyberlaw Clinic’s amicus brief focused on whether searching, filtering, sorting, and other forms of database manipulation constitute the creation of a new record. By focusing on real-world uses of databases, amici show that there is no practical difference between accessing full records from a database and compiling a list of entries. Amici then point out that the content-index distinction has led to murky jurisprudence in the past and continuing to apply this distinction to databases would require arbitrary line-drawing and lead to absurd results. In the database context, almost any presentation of the data is a record that already exists, and agencies should be required to produce records accordingly.

Read more at The Cyberlaw Clinic... 

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