Anonymous + general hacktivists 2009-2018 (Fairfax County Police Department)

Emma Best filed this request with the Fairfax County Police Department of Fairfax County, VA.
Multi Request Anonymous + general hacktivists 2009-2018
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Tom Nash


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Documents mentioning or relating to Anonymous (the hacker movement/collective, see below) or hacktivism (defined as hacking as a form of protest and/or activism) generated between 1 January 2009 and 1 January 2019, including but not limited to:

* Internal reports, bulletins, warnings and alerts relating to Anonymous or hacktivism
* Reports from the appropriate IT (Information Technology) or computer offices regarding possible cyber attacks by Anonymous or other hacktivists
* Reports, bulletins, warnings and alerts sent to or received from either the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, any fusion center or federal agency relating to or mentioning Anonymous or hacktivism
* Incident reports investigating possible hacking activity falling within the office's jurisdiction and allegedly carried out by members of Anonymous or other hacktivist groups
* Materials generated as a result of any suspected or actual compromise, breach or "dox" (revealing of personal or private information) by Anonymous or other hacktivists

Anonymous has been described by government agencies as a non-hierarchical hacktivist collective, Anonymous uses hacking (and arguably cracking) techniques to register political protest in campaigns known as “#ops.” Best known for their distributed denial of services (DDoS) attacks, past activities have included attacks against the Church of Scientology; Visa, Paypal, and others who withdrew their services from WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange after that group began releasing war documents; #OpTunisia and others purporting to support the Arab Spring; and a campaign that brought down the website of the Westboro Baptist Church. #Ops are usually marked with the release of a video of a reader in a Guy Fawkes mask using a computer generated voice. See attached for additional background information.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance.

As my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I request that fees be waived.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Please note that I am a citizen of Virginia, and am using MuckRock's services to help manage and track my request.

Sincerely,

Tom Nash

From: Fairfax County Police Department

Tom Nash,

Thank you for submitting your Virginia Freedom of Information Act request to Fairfax County, which was received on June 6, 2019. For ease of reference, we have numbered your underlying FOIA requests and included answers to the same below.

Both the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) and the Fairfax County Department of Information Technology (DIT) conducted a search for responsive records based on the scope of your requests. The Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center (NVRIC) was also identified as a records custodian. However, please be advised that the only responsive records of NVRIC that were identified by Fairfax County are those that are also in the possession of FCPD.

Further, many of the below-referenced records would be likely be considered exempt under the criminal investigations exemption pursuant to Va. Code § 2.2-3706(B)(1), (B)(2), the critical infrastructure information security exemption pursuant to Va. Code § 2.2-3705.2(14). Furthermore, NVRIC records are confidential and not subject to FOIA. Va. Code § 52-48.

If you wish to proceed with your FOIA request, then please send a check made payable to the "County of Fairfax" in the amount of $19,984.91 to the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551, Fairfax, Virginia 22035-0065. To the extent that the actual costs may increase or decrease, you will be required to pay any additional costs and if the actual costs are less than estimated, Fairfax County will refund you the difference.

Request 1 and 2

* "Internal reports, bulletins, warnings and alerts relating to Anonymous or hacktivism"
* "Reports from the appropriate IT (Information Technology) or computer offices regarding possible cyber attacks by Anonymous or other hacktivists"

Response 1 and 2
The Fairfax County Department of Information and Technology (DIT) conducted a preliminary search for records responsive to your request 1. That search resulted in 106,714 potentially responsive records.
Fairfax County estimates that it will cost a total of $1,664.91 solely to collect information responsive to requests for 1 and 2. Please note that once these records are collected, a subject matter expert must review each record to determine:

* if it is a "public record" as defined in Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3701,
* if it is responsive to the scope of your request, and
* if so, whether it is subject to any exemptions or federal or state confidentiality requirements.
Staff time for such review and production of the same will be significant, and will be estimated in addition to the collection costs referenced above.
Request 3

* "Reports, bulletins, warnings and alerts sent to or received from either the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, any fusion center or federal agency relating to or
mentioning Anonymous or hacktivism"

Response 3
All records responsive to this request that are not otherwise captured in request nos. 1 - 2 are likely to be considered exempt pursuant to the critical infrastructure information security exemption (Va. Code § 2.2-3705.2(14)) and other state and federal laws. If you seek detailed information on the number of potentially responsive records, then please let us know, and Fairfax County will endeavor to provide you with an advanced estimate to search for and identify the same.

Requests 4 and 5

* "Incident reports investigating possible hacking activity falling within the office's jurisdiction and allegedly carried out by members of Anonymous or other hacktivist groups"
* "Materials generated as a result of any suspected or actual compromise, breach or "dox" (revealing of personal or private information) by Anonymous or other hacktivists."

Response 4 and 5
The FCPD conducted a search for records in the police records management system-which stores case information from 2010 to the present. For your reference, included below are details on what search terms were used to identify potentially responsive records and the results of those searches.

* The search term "anonymous" identified 2,290 cases.
* The search terms "anonymous" and "hack" (combined) identified 13 cases.
* The search term "hacktivist" identified 1 case.

The estimated time to collect, review and produce the 2,290 cases is 381.6 hours (at 6 cases/hour) at $48/hour with a resulting total estimated cost of $18,320.

If you seek information on the number of potentially responsive records prior to 2010, then please let us know, and Fairfax County will endeavor to provide you with an advanced estimate to search for and identify the same.

After a preliminary search it was determined that DIT records responsive to this request that are not otherwise captured in request nos. 1 - 2 are likely to be considered exempt pursuant to the criminal investigations exemption (Va. Code § 2.2-3706(B)(1)), the critical infrastructure information security exemption (Va. Code § 2.2-3705.2(14)) and other state and federal laws. If you seek detailed information on the number of potentially responsive records, then please let us know, and Fairfax County will endeavor to provide you with an advanced estimate to search for and identify the same.

Please let us know if you would like to provide additional specificity to your request, by, for example, adding additional search terms to the words "anonymous."

Please contact us if you have any questions.
Regards,

Countywide FOIA Office
Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, Virginia 22035-0065
FOIA@fairfaxcounty.gov<mailto:FOIA@fairfaxcounty.gov>
https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/publicaffairs/foia

Files

pages

Close