Down at the crossroads where innovative private enterprise meets good accountable government, there can be collisions between public records and trade secrets. Under Florida’s strong public records laws, which protects the commercially valuable secrets of those who do business with the state, not every piece of data obtained from a company is a trade secret. A recent case in Broward County nicely illustrates the point. In a public records request, Yellow Cab asked Broward County […]Continue Reading
A Challenge for Readers: Who Qualifies as ‘the News Media’?
A perennial question in this internet age is, “Who exactly does qualify as the news media?” In the days when Gutenberg invented movable type, the number of printing presses could be counted on fingers and toes. Today, with the internet as every man or woman’s printing press, the number is infinite. For access to normally public records, forums, and events, such as public meetings and court hearings, the news media and the public have about […]Continue Reading
Attorney David Boies’s Career-Killing Ethical Breach for Weinstein
Many have wondered how Harvey Weinstein’s story went unreported for so long. Part of the reason may have come to light in a recent New Yorker article. According to the New Yorker article, and other news coverage, Weinstein hired attorneys and private intelligence agencies to collect damaging information on journalists working on stories about him as well as their sources. The explicit goal of these investigations was to prevent the publication of the abuse allegations […]Continue Reading
Flipping the Bird at the President Is Protected Speech; Bragging about It on Social Media, Not So Smart
A recent court case reaffirmed that flipping the bird in protest is usually protected speech, not disorderly conduct. When the gesture is used to express contempt, anger, or protest, and not a “true threat,” in most situations a person cannot be guilty of a crime. But can you be fired from your job for flipping the bird? And what if you took it one step further… and flipped the bird at the President? Recently, […]Continue Reading
During his first months in office, President Trump has complained about people in government leaking sensitive or secret information to the news media. He has at times suggested news media should be prosecuted for publishing secret information. Is that likely? History gives one example to consider. Before the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. government’s most significant prosecution of a news media outlet occurred during World War II, arguably at the height of danger to our national […]Continue Reading
Could the President Punish NBC News for What He Says Is a False Report?
A recent NBC News report said that the president wanted an almost tenfold increase to our nuclear warhead stockpile. Trump was quick to claim the story was “made up and “pure fiction” on Twitter. He followed that up with a tweet threatening the broadcast license for NBC. With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country! — […]Continue Reading