‘Almost Orwellian’: Feds Black Out Nearly All Emails About Trucker Surveillance Proposal

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ADepartment of Transportation component slammed the brakes following semi-furious opposition to its proposal for “on demand” law enforcement surveillance of commercial vehicles a year and a half ago.

It took another six months to turn over the records after a FOIA lawsuit to compel their release, a day before they were due in court Thursday, with no indication yet from FMCSA when it would release a final rule.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had internal conversations about those public comments over several months, including via personal email, at the same time it was stalling a Freedom of Information Act request for its communications about the “constitutional implications” of the electronic-tracking advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).

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What can the public learn from the nearly 500 pages? Almost nothing.

FMCSA blanked out all but 30 pages under the FOIA exemption for “deliberative process privilege,” a redaction notation that appears more than 500 times in the production to the Bader Family Foundation, more than 30 of those paired with the notation “attorney-client privileged.”

The FBI went even further with Whitey Bulger this past week, refusing to turn over further records from the notorious mobster’s case file in response to Boston Herald FOIA requests, the newspaper reported.

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