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NY court weighs disclosure in old communist probe

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A writer whose parents were targeted by anti-communist investigators in the New York City school system 57 years ago took her fight to the state’s top court Wednesday, looking for the records to peel back the veil of secrecy from that chapter in America’s Red Scare, including the names of informants.

Lisa Harbatkin’s parents were among more than 1,100 teachers investigated from the 1930s to the 1960s. Her father resigned. Her mother told investigators she was no longer a Communist Party member and couldn’t recall who was. Now Harbatkin, who plans to keep writing articles and possibly a book about it, has asked New York’s Court of Appeals to uphold her Freedom of Information Law request to see 140,000 pages of documents with nothing blacked out.

Lower courts upheld the city decision to let Harbatkin see files on her parents, Sidney and Margaret Harbatkin. But, citing privacy concerns, officials offered access to the rest only on the condition she doesn’t record or publish names.

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Michale Virtanen | Associated Press | 26th April 2012

FOI shows bureaucratic bungle behind open standards u-turn

Standards institutions persisted in their opposition to the UK’s open standards policy after Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude reassured them their fears about it were unfounded, according to letters released to Computer Weekly under Freedom of Information.
The revelation raises questions about the minister’s subsequent withdrawal of the UK policy, on 30 November, which was by then under no substantial pressure bar lobbying from large US software companies and, bizarrely, the record industry.

A letter sent by Maude in June last year, and obtained by Computer Weekly, showed how he had even then already extinguished threats and fears raised by opponents of the UK open standards policy in official standards bodies in Chiswick and Geneva.

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Mark Ballard | Computer Weekly | 26th April 2012

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