A Times investigation found inconsistent approaches to assessing claims of civilians killed by coalition forces — including failures to conduct simple internet searches.
Prosecutors agreed to compare hundreds if not thousands of pages of classified documents in the case against 9/11 defendants with material released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Working on his own, he used the Freedom of Information Act to publish suppressed documents, sometimes making front-page news.
He found his way through the formerly unobtainable files of J. Edgar Hoover, whom he called “an insubordinate bureaucrat in charge of a lawless organization.”
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington criticized former President Trump for holding large campaign rallies that it said exposed agents to the virus.
Did the former Attorney General William P. Barr use his mighty powers to protect his boss?
The 7-to-2 ruling rejected an environmental group’s Freedom of Information Act request.
Biometric data led President Trump to pardon an American soldier convicted of killing Afghan civilians. What if the data was wrong?
DoNotPay, the consumer advice company that started out helping people easily challenge parking tickets, has come a long way since it launched. It’s expanded to help consumers cancel memberships, claim compensation for missed flights, and even sue companies for small claims. In the early days of the pandemic, the startup helped its users file for unemployment, where many state benefit sites crashed.
Now the so-called “robot lawyer” has a new trick. The startup now lets you request information from U.S. federal and state government agencies under the Freedom of Information Act.
FOIA allows anyone to request information from the government, with some exceptions. But ask anyone with experience in filing FOIAs (hello!) and they can tell you that requesting data requires skill and practice to avoid having the request thrown out for being too broad, or not being specific enough. And when you do eventually get something back, it might not be what you expect.
That’s where DoNotPay wants to help. The new feature guides you through how to file a request for information, as well as wrangle the fee waivers and option to expedite processing — which is up to you to convince the government department why you should get the information for free and faster than regular FOIA requests. (In reality, the FOIA system is massively under-resourced, and responses can take months or years to get back.) After asking you a series of questions and what you want to request, DoNotPay generates a formal FOIA request letter using your answers and files it to the government agency on your behalf.
DoNotPay’s founder and chief executive Joshua Browder said he’s hoping the new feature can help consumers “beat bureaucracy.”
“Hundreds of users have requested a FOIA product, because the government makes it deliberately difficult and bureaucratic to exercise these rights,” Browder told TechCrunch.
Browder said that DoNotPay “would not exist” without FOIA laws. “When we got started appealing parking tickets, we used previous requests to see the top reasons why parking tickets were dismissed,” he said. Browder said he’s hoping the feature will help consumers uncover more injustices — just like with parking tickets — to feed his product with more features. “The overall strategy is to use any interesting FOIA data to build great new DoNotPay products,” he said.
DoNotPay raised $12 million in its Series A earlier this year, led by investment firm Coatue Management, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, and and Felicis Ventures. The startup has just three employees, including Browder, and is valued at about $80 million, the company confirmed.
The FOIA filing feature is free for academics and journalists, and is included as part of the company’s subscription service of $3 per month for everyone else.
But she did not take part in a pair of unsigned decisions in favor of a Black Lives Matter activist and a prisoner held in abusive conditions.
In 2016, agency scientists deemed hair straighteners containing formaldehyde to be unsafe, according to newly obtained emails.
“Baseless,” the novelist’s new work of nonfiction, is the record of a frustrated investigation and an indictment of government secrecy.
While some of the encounters have been reported publicly before, the Navy records are an official accounting of the incidents, including descriptions from the pilots of what they saw.
Ignoring Freedom of Information Act requests during the crisis damages democracy.