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This week there have been some great examples of the impact public records requests can have, including how a three-year fight for records ended up overturning a murder conviction, while another long-running transparency effort is leading to reforms in civil asset forfeiture in Illinois.
When the Central Intelligence Agency released its CREST database online, it created a historical treasure trove of 13 million pages, more than any one researcher is likely to ever comb through. Fortunately, we’re able to have a computer do that for you, following various trends in what the Agency is paying attention to in a given year.
Breitbart News’ FBI file details how site accidentally DDoS’d itself … but withholds over a thousand pages
On January 17, 2016, the alt-right news site Breitbart found itself under siege: A number of IP addresses were sending a large amount of traffic its way, straining its servers. Writing to the FBI two days later with the subject line “Request for assistance,” someone (identity redacted) shared the source of the IP addresses and asked that the FBI “explore the possibility that the identity of the criminal … be identified from this fingerprint.” It turns out, it was an inside job.
Earlier this year, our lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency resulted in the release of 13 million pages of historical documents online - the CREST archives. That’s a lot to go through, so to help kick off CIA Week we put together a bot that tweets out documents created on this day in history: @TodayInCIA.
How Reuters used public information to build the most comprehensive database of Taser-involved deaths yet
In a sweeping investigation, a team of Reuters reporters, editors, and data analysts raised serious questions about Taser’s manufacturer’s claim that no one has died directly from device’s shock. Reviewing the results of hundreds of autopsies, filing hundreds of public records requests around the country, and other painstaking open-source research made the investigation possible.
Latest Requests See all
|Municipal ID Program Data Sharing and Privacy Measures||Awaiting Acknowledgement||Office of Vital Statistics||New Haven, CT|
|NYC Municipal ID Program Data Sharing and Privacy Measures||Awaiting Response||New York City Human Resources Administration||New York City, NY|
|DACA Database Deportation Information||Awaiting Response||U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services||United States of America|
|Previously Released CIA Agreements with Hollywood + Processing Notes||Awaiting Acknowledgement||Central Intelligence Agency||United States of America|
|Film Permits||Awaiting Acknowledgement||Test Agency||United States of America|
Recently Completed Requests See all
|Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson Severance Package||Completed||Ferguson Police Department||Ferguson, MO|
|Cohen v. TSA Documents||Completed||Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority||Memphis, TN|
|Copy of Socrata Contract with City of Boston||Completed||Administration and Finance||Boston, MA|
|Booz Allen Hamilton Contracts (Amtrak)||Completed||Amtrak||United States of America|
|Dog Registration Data (Avon Town Clerk)||Completed||Avon Town Clerk||Avon, MA|