As someone who has been threatened with jail, lawsuits, and the occasional death threat over requests I’ve filed or helped file, I understand how frustrating public records can be. But with Sunshine Week 2018 wrapped up, I think it’s worth taking note of everything that’s gone well.
As we kick off what will hopefully be a very transparent Sunshine Week 2018, we want to take a moment to reflect on one of the more absurd finds in the Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archive so far, and how the work the #OpenGov community can find itself part of the public record.
MuckRock files requests to over 9000 agencies in all 50 states, and the overwhelming number of our interactions with those agencies is positive, sometimes downright pleasant. Then there’s agencies like the Lexington Police Department in Kentucky.
Today is the 15th anniversary of 2003’s coordinated protest against the Iraq War. With attendance in the millions, at the time it was the “the largest protest event in human history.” Though we don’t have any records from that particular protest, Federal Bureau of Investigation files show that later demonstrations were under heavy Bureau surveillance, taking note of details as banal as a car bearing a pro-peace bumper sticker.
In February of 2010, when we first registered the MuckRock domain, we had no idea what we were in for. More important than any one request or news story we have helped with is the amazing community of those willing to fight for a more open, more accountable, and more responsive government for everyone. Thank you.