The 2020 Foilies Awards: Recognizing the year’s worst in government transparency 

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click to enlarge CAITLYN CRITES
  • Caitlyn Crites

The Queen of all FOIA Denials

Egyptian Museum of Berlin

For three years, Cosmo Wenman battled with the German-government-funded Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection (aka, the Egyption Museum of Berlin) over a freedom of information campaign to release the 3D scan of a bust of Queen Nefertiti. The museum denied the request for the high-quality scan of the over 3,000-year-old statue, arguing that it would threaten its commercial interests — namely by creating competition in the sale of images or reproductions.

"The organization was treating its scan of Nefertiti like a state secret," Wenman wrote in Reason.

After a prolonged battle, and temporary access to a very slow computer containing the scan, Wenman was finally given a USB drive with the full 3D image. No word on whether museum visits have declined precipitously.

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