Posts by: Victoria Ullmann

Plunderbund’s case in the Supreme Court is moving forward and an oral argument has been granted by the Court.  Because this case is a mandamus case, oral argument is not automatic as in most appeals that they accept. At this stage, the Court could have simply issued a decision.

The oral argument was granted at Public Safety’s request.  Oral arguments are only granted in mandamus cases if the movant can show that the case is of great public interest.  The issue of this case is whether Public Safety can magically turn standard incident reports into “security documents” in order to hide [...]

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As discussed in Part 1, Plunderbund has brought a case against the Department of Public Safety because the agency is refusing to provide what are basic Highway Patrol incident reports.  The state is claiming that these reports are security documents exempt form disclosure based upon a state level component of the Patriot Act designed to protect computers and infrastructure. The application of this section to these sorts of documents is overbroad and arbitrary.

While the national security argument can allow broad concealment of government data, moving government functions to allegedly private entities provides another method of concealment.  The government [...]

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The Long and Winding Road to an Opaque Government
by Victoria Ullmann

Over the last several years both federal and state governments have employed two primary methods of hiding their activities from the public.  The first and most obvious is the misuse of the Patriot Act to label government documents and activities as security matters.  This is nearly impossible to monitor.  If the public and the press cannot see any of the documents, there is no way to know what is being hidden.   The second is privatization of government functions.  By privatizing what are in fact functions of [...]

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