FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 28, 2005 Contact: Marcia Hofmann, Director, Open Government Project (202) 483-1140 ext. 112 EPIC CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL RIGHT TO KNOW DAY Posts New Documents on Airline Passenger Complaints Washington, DC - This week, EPIC posted documents on its web site, obtained from the US government, that detail passenger complaints about the government's traveler screening program. Many passengers said that they have been wrongly placed on a government watch list. Numerous complaints show travelers' frustration with the government's failure to resolve their misidentification problems. The documents were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, a law that provides public access to government information. EPIC posted the documents in recognition of September 28, International Right to Know Day. On this day in 2002, freedom of information organizations from around the world established the Freedom of Information Advocates Network. The coalition, now comprised of more than 90 organizations on four continents, continues to promote the adoption of freedom of information laws throughout the world and the recognition of the right to know as a fundamental human right. In the United States, the Freedom of Information Act is critical for the functioning of democratic government because it helps ensure that the public is fully informed about matters of public concern. The Act has helped uncover fraud, waste, and abuse in the federal government. Although EPIC has faced increasing claims of government secrecy in the last few years, it has successfully pursued open government requests in several important civil liberties controversies. EPIC also successfully litigated several Freedom of Information Act cases in recent years. Among the key outcomes was a recent federal court decision that a government agency may not withhold a document sought by the public simply by saying it contains "sensitive security information." "Open government laws are critical to ensure government accountability. EPIC joins with other organizations to celebrate the importance of the public's right to know," said Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director of EPIC. Among the organizations working to promote transparency is the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. CIPPIC, which was established in 2003 at the University of Ottawa, is pursuing access to information requests to learn about the extent of consumer profiling in Canada. CIPPIC has also drafted a manual to assist requesters using Canadian access to information laws, which is slated for release later this year. "Access to Information laws are a key aspect of Canadian democracy and an important tool by which citizens can hold their governments accountable. The more people that know about them, the better!" said Phillippa Lawson, Director of CIPPIC. EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. EPIC is a recognized leader in the use of the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information about government policy on emerging issues. EPIC documents on airline passenger complaints: http://www.epic.org/privacy/airtravel/foia/complaint_log.pdf Freedom of Information Advocates Network: http://www.foiadvocates.net Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic: http://www.cippic.ca EPIC's Open Government Overview: http://www.epic.org/open_gov EPIC's Freedom of Information Gallery: http://www.epic.org/open_gov/foiagallery EPIC's Litigation Docket: http://www.epic.org/privacy/litigation EPIC, Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws 2004: http://www.epic.org/bookstore/foia2004 .