I just noticed this post over at Wired Magazine’s Threat Level blog, Activists Flood Government Agencies With FOIA Requests in Tribute to Aaron Swartz. Last week, Muckrock, the site that helps journalists, lawyers, and the public submit FOIA requests for a small fee ($20 for 5 requests), waived their fees in tribute to the transparency fights of computer programmer and internet activist Aaron Swartz who committed suicide a few weeks ago. I hope Muckrock will post all of the documents received via these requests. According to Muckrock:
MuckRock has begun processing 153 free FOIA requests submitted in honor of Internet pioneer and transparency activist Aaron Swartz, who died earlier this month at age 26.
Swartz, among MuckRock’s first users and supporters, used public records laws to attempt to find out more about why the federal government was pursuing Internet piracy charges against him. He also filed requests related to alleged WikiLeaks collaborator Bradley Manning and the U.S. Mint, among many other topics.
In a Jan. 18 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking about Swartz’s prosecution, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) asked, “was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act?”
As a way to honor Swartz’s legacy and to further his transparency work, MuckRock encouraged users to file requests in his honor free of charge. The requests cover all corners of government, ranging from the Department of Homeland Security’s documents relating to the high profile Tar Sands Blockade to the city payroll for Everett, Mass.