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The Right to Know

Your Guide to Using and Defending Freedom of Information Law in the United States

by Jacqueline Klosek


Freedom of information is a leitmotif of American democracy formalized in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), signed into law in 1966. Yet, even before 9/11, the United States had begun to move in the opposite direction as the federal government aggressively expanded exemptions from public access to government information guaranteed by the FOIA and post-Watergate sunshine laws.

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Cover image for The Right to Know

June 2009


Pages 227
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/Law
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    Hardcover: £38.00/41,00€/A$63.00

An attorney and certified information privacy professional offers a resource book for citizens seeking to understand, use, and defend their right to know under freedom of information laws in the United States.

The Right to Know: Your Guide to Using and Defending Freedom of Information Law in the United States sets out in plain language freedom-of-information best practices for ordinary citizens, activist organizations, journalists, bloggers, and lawyers.

Jacqueline Klosek, an expert in U.S. information law, educes practical lessons from dozens of case studies to show how readers can use freedom of information laws to protect themselves, but also to protect the environment, and public health and safety, as well as to expose governmental and corporate crime, waste, and corruption. Finally, the book shows American readers how, in contrast to what is going on in most democracies, their right to know is being progressively curtailed, why this is so dangerous to democracy, and what they can do to help reverse the alarming trend.


  • 15 illustrations


  • Provides an all-encompassing resource book for individuals and organizations on how to exercise their right to know at all levels of government
  • Issues a clarion call against attacks by the executive branch on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and sunshine laws
  • Reveals how, in contrast to the United States, the rest of the democratic world is trending to more instead of less freedom of information
Author Info

Jacqueline Klosek is senior counsel in business law for Goodwin Procter LLP, New York, NY, where she practices in intellectual property, data privacy, and technology security. A certified information privacy professional, she serves on the advisory board of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and as vice chair of the Information Services, Technology and Data Protection Committee of the American Bar Association. As adjunct professor at New York University, she taught international intellectual property law and the law of e-commerce. After taking her LLM in European and international law from the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, she served as consultant on U.S. information law to the directorate general of the European Commission. Klosek is the author of War on Privacy (Praeger, 2006), The Legal Guide to e-Business (Greenwood Publishing, 2003), and Data Privacy in the Information Age (Greenwood, 2000).



". . . this book will be of greatest use to those engaged in these battles to pry open the doors of government agencies. There are, [Klosek] notes, many exemptions to the law that prevent access, but she does provide practical methods for citizens to use the act to protect themselves and their communities. The most dangerous aspect of what is occurring is the increasing effort to deny Americans access to government generated information with which to make an informed analysis of what is really occurring."Bookviews by Alan Caruba

"Jacqueline Klosek provides readers with a detailed analysis of the critical importance of the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA)."Apex Reviews


"This is an immensely sensible and insightful look at the fundamental importance of protecting our society's right to information in an age of terrorist threats. Klosek rigorously balances the threats posed by terrorists who use freedom of information laws to gain access to sensitive information against the risk of allowing a government and private industry to operate in secrecy. Human rights activists and scholars alike will appreciate the practical wisdom she offers that freedom of information is a crucial element to a society's accurate portrayal of history."—Jeff Aresty

"In her latest publication, The Right to Know: Your Guide to Using and Defending Freedom of Information Law in the United States, Jacqueline Klosek contributes a superbly researched and thought provoking analysis of the Freedom of Information Act to our national debate regarding the accessibility—and accountability—of government to its citizens. This publication is an excellent resource for 'best practices' in leveraging current laws and dealing with their limitations, and for identifying relevant government agencies and personnel."—Mary J. Hildebrand
Member of the Firm Lowenstein Sandler PC, New Jersey

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Taking the Stand cover imageIntellectual Property and Information Wealth cover imageThe Rehnquist Court cover image

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