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University of Washington sued for withholding documents detailing professor’s alleged role in DHS disinformation campaign


The University of Washington is facing a lawsuit over its alleged failure to release documents detailing alleged coordination between a professor and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) disinformation project.

Independent watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust has filed a lawsuit in its search for documents from Professor Kate Starbird about her work on the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advisory committee.

The committee, which also consists of current and former employees of Big Tech companies such as Twitter, Meta and Google, wrote a report for CISA’s director that concluded that the agency should shape the “information ecosystem” as it monitors the content of social networks.

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Global Threats to the Homeland” on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 15, 2022.
(REUTERS/Michael A McCoy)

Starbird claimed that providing documents on his involvement with the committee would likely take years to complete. The University of Washington said it would process Protect the Public’s Trust’s October public information request by March, but may need an extension.

Protect the Public’s Trust states that the university has not provided any information as to why the application will take a long period of time to process.

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“The University’s response is effectively an admission that it has not searched records or conducted a cursory review to plan for a further search, but that when it does, it may take even longer,” the lawsuit filed Thursday says.

The University of Washington website states that Starbird co-founded the Center for an Informed Public in 2009, which has a “shared mission to resist strategic misinformation, promote an informed society, and strengthen democratic discourse.”

Supposedly, the Department of Homeland Security has been working with Big Tech to censor online speech.

Supposedly, the Department of Homeland Security has been working with Big Tech to censor online speech.
(FoxNews)

The university told Fox News Digital that it received 10 requests for public information about the center, which takes time to process “based on several factors, including, but not limited to, the current workload of existing requests and the potential size of the application”.

“The Public Records Act indicates that responding to public records requests will not unreasonably interfere with other essential functions of the agency, such as teaching and research, and, as noted above, there are already several other requests that are being honored by the IPC”. a spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

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DHS has changed in recent years to counter the misinformation being spread through the media. The agency created a Disinformation Governing Board to police disinformation in April, but halted its plan weeks later, later disbanding the group.

Public information requests and leaks later revealed that the agency had a formalized process for flagging Facebook to censor posts it deemed misinformation. Federal officials often sent what they believed to be misinformation to CISA, which then advised social media companies to censor the content.

President Biden's presidential campaign reportedly worked with Twitter on how to censor what it considered misinformation, according to the "Twitter Archives."

President Biden’s presidential campaign reportedly worked with Twitter on how to censor what it considered to be misinformation, according to “Twitter Files.”
(Phil Noble/Pool Photo via AP)

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New “Twitter Files” recently released by Twitter CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company worked with the Biden presidential campaign to censor content like the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Government documents show that the FBI, CISA and other government agencies met with a long list of media companies ahead of the 2020 election to discuss how to counter misinformation that included Twitter, Meta and Microsoft.



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