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MFIA Files Petition Seeking Release of New York City Conduit Maps

On Nov. 20, the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) filed an Article 78 petition in the Supreme Court of New York on behalf of Information Society Project Resident Fellow Anjali Dalal ’10 and Cardozo Law Professor Susan Crawford ’89. The petition challenges New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications’ (DoITT) refusal to disclose, under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, the location of conduit – pipes through which Internet cables can be run – owned and operated by Empire City Subway (ECS) under license from the City.

The request for New York City’s conduit maps is one step in a larger effort pursued by Professor Crawford and Dalal to ensure all New Yorkers have access to the information technology they need to participate fully in today’s high-technology world, said MFIA. As argued in the petition:

“Disclosure of the requested conduit maps will allow the public to evaluate the City’s efforts to ensure access to broadband Internet connections to all City residents in a non-discriminatory manner and to assess whether the City is taking adequate steps to fulfill its stated objective of making Internet infrastructure ‘accessible, reliable and competitive to meet the needs of residents, businesses and governments.’

“The conduit maps will shed light on the reasons why high-income, mostly white neighborhoods continue to enjoy the benefits of high-speed Internet access, while low-income, minority neighborhoods make do with yesterday’s Internet – or without any Internet at all.”

For further information about this effort, contact Anjali Dalal at anjali.dalal@yale.edu.  

MFIA, an initiative of the Information Society Project, the Knight Law & Media Program, and the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School, was founded by four Yale Law School students to defend the public’s right of access to government information and to support traditional and emerging forms of newsgathering. Through MFIA, Yale Law students work under the supervision of veteran media attorneys who volunteer their time pro bono on cases where private actors lack the resources to prosecute the public’s access rights.