A Leaf of Faith: The Kratom Story

Kratom is a plant in the coffee family from Southeast Asia. It is typically consumed as raw powder, tea, and in capsule form. Although the herb displays an excellent safety profile, in 2014 the United States Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert on it, a de facto attempt to prevent its importation and sale.

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Blank Check: How local police fund themselves with fines and fees

For almost every city around America, fines and fees are a useful law enforcement tool, offering a way to punish everyday infractions without the immediate threat of jail or a permanent mark on a criminal record. But what happens when governments stop thinking of fines as a deterrent, but as a crucial source of funding? How does it change policing when the goal is neither to serve and protect, but to ensure that the budget doesn't take a hit? The Sunlight Foundation and MuckRock are partnering to find out.

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Cell Site Simulator Census

A nationwide census of cellphone surveillance equipment use and policy.

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Closed Meeting Crash

This project will evaluate Massachusetts municipalities’ responsiveness to records requests, as well as which have kept up with reviewing and releasing the executive session minutes of their local boards, and which have not.

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CVE Watch

The programs being designed and implemented across the country under the auspices of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) have drawn fire from Muslim community members and civil rights activists. They are criticized for unfairly targeting Muslims, being used for surveillance under the pretext of community outreach, and being based on an unfounded theory of radicalization. Despite the heavy criticism CVE has been subjected to, there remain lingering questions about precisely which communities are targeted, what research (and which experts) agencies are relying on for their approaches, how (or if) government agencies are planning to safeguard civil liberties, which community leaders are being supported and for what reasons, etc. By making the relevant government documents public, we hope to help answer some of these questions.

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Drone Census

No one, including federal airspace czars, seems to know with any authority just how many drones are flying around domestic airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration has prophesied that there could be upwards of 30,000 drones in the air by 2030, but lists of which government players are flying UAVs at present vary considerably.

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Find the Truth About Flight MH370

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I’ve always struggled to think that searches are being carried out in the right zone. Now two years after the searches are going on, every day it passes, I struggle a little more.

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FOIA March Madness 2016

64 federal agencies. 4 rounds. 1 winner. The CIA still hasn’t acknowledged our request. Who will be named Most Responsive FOIA Office?

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From the Pentagon to the Police: The 1033 Project

As we saw in Ferguson, and most recently in Dallas and Baton Rouge, every day American police look less like a neighborhood watch and more like a paramilitary force. Here's how and why that happened.

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Fueled By Ignorance: Massachusetts Gas Leaks

Massachusetts, your officials aren't protecting you from the dangers of gas leaks. It's up to us to demand answers.

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Hunting for Government's Oldest Computer

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What started out as an attempt to answer a (seemingly) simple question - what is the oldest computer still in use by a government agency - has seen spiraled into a project that touches on issues of national security, record keeping, and finally finding out whatever happened to Zeos.

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Iran-Contra, October Surprise and Reagan's Wrongs

A look into the wrongdoings of the Reagan administration and campaign, including the October Surprise, Debategate, MCA Records, the Inslaw and Wedtech scandals and the Iran-Contra scandal, which has been called Reagan's unchecked abuse of Presidential power.

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Is This Stuff Legal? FDA Files on New Dietary Ingredients

Everybody is looking for a pill that makes them look and feel better, and the dietary supplement industry is happy to oblige. With new products hitting the market daily, this project aims to catalogue the new dietary ingredient notifications that manufacturers have sent to the FDA, which have been accepted, and which have been objected to.

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June 8, 1967 Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty

This project is to document the June 8, 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty as completely as possible from sources subject to the Freedom of Information Act as well as other similar laws and regulations.

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MuckRock Thiel Fellowship

Peter Thiel - co-founder of both PayPal and Palantir and an early Facebook investor - has profoundly reshaped industry after industry and, ultimately, remade the world to better fit his radical vision of the future. With MuckRock’s Thiel Fellowship, we want to help journalists and researchers better understand this pivotal figure’s work and share what they learn with the public.

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Must-Seethe TV: FCC Complaints

Everybody's a critic. And now, thanks to the FCC's easy online complaint submission form, it's never been easier to direct those criticisms to the people that need to hear it most - the United States Federal government. This project aims to collect all the FCC complaints generated by the most critically-acclaimed programs on cable and network television ... as well as plenty of those less critically-acclaimed guilty pleasures at you still don't want to see cancelled any time soon.

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#NoDAPL Pipeline Protest

Unicorn Riot reporters have filed numerous public records requests to various law enforcement and government agencies in North Dakota in the process of their reporting on struggles against the Dakota Access Pipeline. You can find them all here.

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Opening the Chicago Surveillance Fund

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is using its Narcotics asset forfeiture funds to purchase controversial surveillance equipment. Help Lucy Parsons Labs and MuckRock conduct an independent audit of this fund to find out how this forfeiture money is being spent. We need to find out what new surveillance technologies are being used in Chicago - one of the most heavily surveilled cities in the United States.

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Prisoner Transportation Policies/Contracts

Every day, American inmates find themselves on the open road, hurtling toward their next holding cell. With little in the way of medical training, food, bathrooms, and patience, the circumstances can be far worse than where they're going - if they make it.

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Project SpyLighter: Shining a light on spies

Project SpyLighter launched unofficially with the September 16, 2013 responsive documents on a FOIA of Vupen's contract with the NSA.

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Qualification Control: 1033 Training Proposals

Since 1997, police departments nationwide have been able to apply for former military equipment through the Department of Defense’s 1033 program – but only with a recent increase in visibility has proof of departmental training been required for the high-powered and heavily armored vehicles obtained through this initiative.

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Reclaim The Records: Using Freedom of Information laws to open up genealogical and archival data

Reclaim The Records is an activist group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates. We are collecting information about archivally important data sets that are not available online or on microfilm, and we then use state and Federal FOI laws and Open Data initiatives to get that information released back to the public.

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Requester's Voice: FOIA Advice, Tips, and Tricks

Requester's Voice is a regular series that interviews top FOIA and public records experts about how to get the most out of the request process.

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Scientology is Fair Game

The Church of Scientology's "Fair Game" practice was a way of targeting its enemies, including ruining their reputation, attempting to have them committed to a mental facility, trying to drive them to suicide and infiltrating dozens of government agencies. This project focuses on the Church's "Fair Game" practices and other unethical behavior.

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Solitary Census

Call it what you will, experts agree that solitary confinement sucks. The technicalities of terminology may seem like a small issue–on the inside, there can be dozens of names for the "hole" you're in – but for policy makers and and rule breakers, the official glossary category can have important implications for restrictions, record keeping, and reform. Here is our collection of solitary confinement policies from across the fifty states and the federal agencies.

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