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Mass Media Law

The Printing Press to the Internet

Arthur S. Hayes

Digital media law is now the dynamic legal territory. Mass Media Law: The Printing Press to the Internet is a textbook designed to introduce students to the panoply of legal theories raised by the Internet revolution as well as those supporting traditional media. The book takes a historical approach beginning with the printing press and the telegraph and proceeding to the digital technologies of today, such as social media and search engines. Concepts such as defamation, broadcast regulation, privacy, and free expression are covered along with new media legal theories including Internet exceptionalism, cyber libertarianism, and digital speech and democratic culture. These are introduced to explain why traditional theories such as First Amendment medium-specific analysis, common carriage, and network neutrality are just as relevant today as they were in the early twentieth century. In order to help readers develop critical reasoning skills, each chapter opens with a highly readable realworld vignette and goes on to identify and explain legal doctrines and tests. Key passages from court opinions are highlighted, and each chapter closes with a list of online media law resources and thought-provoking questions, including legal hypotheticals, to give readers a solid understanding of the area in question. Mass Media Law is designed to be the main text and a valuable resource for undergraduate and graduate courses covering media, mass communication, free expression, and journalism law.


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9. Access to Government Records, Property & Services


C H A P T E R N I N E Access to Government Records, Property & Services CONTROVERSY: What is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hiding? It has 2,000 naked images of airline passengers, and it refuses to let the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) see them. Airport security full-body scanners captured the images. The center, a privacy advocacy group, says it needs them to determine if the screening violates the Fourth Amendment and federal statutory laws protecting privacy. EPIC filed requests in 2009 to obtain information about the screening under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).FOIA, enacted in 1966, requires federal agencies to make government records available to the public. DHS produced 1,766 pages of doc- uments, but withheld the images, invoking one of the FOIA’s nine exemptions to dis- closure, Exemption 2-High. EPIC challenged DHS’s reliance on Exemption 2-High, but lost on summary judgment in January 2011.1 For some time, courts used the term “Low 2” for human resources and employee relations records and “High 2” for records whose disclosure would risk circumvention of the law. That classification disappeared, however, less than two months after EPIC v. DHS. In March 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated Exemption 2-High in Milner v. U.S. Department of the Navy, No. 09–1163 (2011), thereby changing the law that the judge had relied on in EPIC v. DHS, and giving EPIC another chance. But EPIC’s bid to get the judge to reconsider and vacate his ruling failed on...

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