Extremists using FOIA requests to invade privacy
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Improper FOIA processing is causing political extortion in IL & FL

CLERMONT, Fla. - eMusicWire -- A lack of FOIA officer exemptions training, coupled with extremism, online bullying and trolling on the rise, has created a new atmosphere for stochastic terrorism and extortion.

Stochastic terrorism is domestic a part of domestic terrorism, where a target is selected. Using online bullying tactics with invasion of privacy, they use social media to denigrate their target, dehumanize them and lone wolf attacks become inevitable to harm the target. They post on pages geared at extremist audiences, to incite anger towards our government. Typical targets are politicians, journalists and strong activists with opposing views.

Freedom of Information Act, ( FOIA) was intended for a way citizens could hold the government accountable by requesting documents regarding business matters such as bills, board votes and meeting minutes. It was not intended to distribute personal information about a private person without their permission.

Note: An individual does not control when outside assistance is needed.  Calling emergency services does not relinquish any constitutional rights for private citizens.

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In Illinois and Florida, extortionists have been requesting personal information like 911 calls, police reports, health, names of witnesses, private phone numbers, pictures of houses and security systems, and even dash cam videos and chest cams showing victim statements, images of victim while harmed, witness statements and other non-redacted information to invade their privacy. This leaves the target exposed to extortion and government bodies open to Civil Rights Lawsuits.

These extortion videos and documents are popping up on Facebook and other social media platforms to denigrate the intended target. In some states, extortion is the new way extremists are forcing elected officials out of office.

Victims' family members, pets, and even roommates can become intended targets by association.

Calling 911 does not make a private person dealing with a public entity, public. It makes the FOIA clerk irresponsible, under educated, liable, and aids and abets the criminal. It can lead to many more crimes against the victim.

In 2022, an appellate court judge in IL ruled this was not the intended use of a FOIA. FOIA laws further clarify it cannot be used to give a competitive advantage or benefit the requesting party. The exemption status of a FOIA request should always lean towards protecting a victim and following up with the requester about the need for this type of request and if it is relevant. Simple searches online by FOIA officers could show ongoing extortion.

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FOIA clerks need to be held accountable if they harm anyone due to negligence, or lack of knowledge. We call on our legislatures to enact laws to hold FOIA clerks accountable. That is the only way to save the newest domestic attacks on our government bodies, media and activism.

LAW
  1. 119.105 Protection of Victims of crimes or accidents- A person who comes into possession of exempt or confidential information contained in police reports may not use that for any commercial solicitation of the victims or relatives of the victims and may not disclose info to a third party.
Ensure that your local FOIA office knows the right FOIA Exemption policies to protect victims. FOIA does not mean anyone can invade a private citizens life, and requesting personal information does not hold a government accountable. It is extorting victims for gain. Victims should be allowed to press charges on both FOIA distributors or extortionists.

To see more, please visit http://TheIllinoisReporter.com

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The Illinois Reporter
***@bonniekurowski.com


Source: The Illinois Reporter

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