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SEPTEMBER 28, 2005


Marcia Hofmann, Director, Open Government Project
(202) 483-1140 ext. 112

     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:


Freedom of Information Advocates Network:


Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic:


EPIC's Open Government Overview:


EPIC's Freedom of Information Gallery:


EPIC's Litigation Docket:


EPIC, Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws 2004: