Pirate Podcasts – Episode 7: FOIA for Fun and Liberation

Maya Shaffer is a reporter for the Bay State Examiner, and someone who’s used Massachusetts public records law enough to know it inside and out. This is a great talk, where Maya tells her stories of public records requesters in the state of Massachusetts. Highlights include,

  • The time Maya made an in-person FOIA request to NEMLEC — the Northeaster Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council. NEMLEC wasn’t sure how to respond to an in-person request, so they called 911.
  • An agency proposed a $400 fee to process a public records request. The agency takes the $400, but never produces the records.
  • How the city of Boston wanted to charge $10,000 to produce emails between the city, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association
  • How Massachusetts public records laws aren’t “real laws”, in the sense that they’re routinely violated, and the violating party is never punished.
  • The level of apathy and disdain that the Secretary of the Commonwealth has for Massachusetts public records laws.
  • The really neat things you can find out, if you manage to get your public records request fulfilled.

Maya’s talk was record on June 25, 2016, during PirateCon 2016.

You can listen below, or download a copy from the Internet Archive.

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