Commerce / Tech / State Encrypt (National Institute of Standards and Technology)

Joseph Uchill filed this request with the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the United States of America.
Tracking #




From: Joseph Uchill

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

The Washington Post reports "But over the summer, momentum has grown among officials in the commerce, diplomatic, trade and technology agencies for a statement from the president 'strongly disavowing' a legislative mandate and supporting widespread encryption, according to senior officials and documents obtained by The Washington Post." (

I am requesting communications including emails and memoranda and presentations since March of 2015 discussing the debate over encryption backdoors.

A good set of search terms to find these documents would be anything that mixes a term from "list A" below with a term from "list B:"

A: encryption, crypto, encrypt, cryptography, pgp, gpg, AES256
B: Apple, Google, default, backdoor, back door, frontdoor, front door, comey, NSA, FBI, law enforcement, Comey, Clapper, Johnson, intelligence, warrant

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 fees cannot be waived, 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 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Joseph Uchill

From: foia

Mr. Uchill:

The attached letter acknowledges receipt of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (your #21430-46352460) which you submitted to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Janet W. Brumby

From: Joseph Uchill

Thank you for your reply. I would like to appeal the denial of fee waivers.

I am a reporter with the Chrisitan Science Monitor using the MuckRock / FOIA management system. Information contained in response documents is being requested for use as part of a newspaper story to explain (A) the role of NIST - a body that produces guidelines for computer security - in advising the government in matters of computer security, (B) the opinions of NIST, a well-esteemed agency with technological expertise on a matter of technology, and (C) the procedural approach taken by NIST when faced with the encryption issue. This directly impacts the public's understanding of government operations in an issue that concerns both national security, industry and civil liberties. Though the data could be seen as giving me "economic benefit" by providing me with information used to produce journalism, journalism is implicitly aimed at increasing the public's understanding of the affairs described in the documents.

Relating that back to the criteria for waiving fees: (1) the subject of the requested records clearly concerns "the operations of activities of the government." These records are being requested for the purposes of (2-4) "significantly contributing" to a widespread understanding of government operations or activities by the general public, and though (5) the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure, that 6) commercial interest is defined by the public interest in the disclosed documents (and, by definition, can never exceed it),

Best, Joe Uchill

From: foia

Mr. Upchill,
Thank you for providing the additional information on September 24, 2015, regarding your requester status as a “media-type requester.”
As a media type requester, the fee waiver denial is no longer applicable because the estimated number of pages is less than 100; the first 100 pages are free to media.
We proceeded with the processing of your FOIA request.
Janet W. Brumby

From: foia

Attached is a letter explaining the need to extend processing time for FOIA #DOC-2015-001956.

From: foia

Mr. Uchill:
Attached is an interim response; additional releases will be made available on a rolling basis as they become available.
Janet W. Brumby

From: foia

Mr. Uchill:
Responsive documents are in the review process.
No further clarification is required.
Thank you for your patience.
Janet W. Brumby

From: foia

Mr. Uchill:
Responses from records sent to submitters of information are due back and remain outstanding.
I will follow-up on those and get back to you.
Thank you for your continued patience.
Janet W. Brumby


You have received 14 secure files from
Use the secure links below to download.
Mr. Uchill:

Attached is a final response to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested submitted to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and dated September 22, 2015.

The attached files are sent to you via NIST Secure File Sharing "Secured by Accellion" due to the large files sizes.

The attached letter provides details about the final response.

The attachments are available for download until August 12, 2016.

Janet W. Brumby

Secure File Downloads:
Available until: 12 August 2016

Click links to download:
#21(2pgs).pdf ,59.59 KB

#24(1pg).pdf ,50.01 KB

#26(2pgs).pdf ,52.46 KB

#71(30pgs).pdf ,1.61 MB

#72(2pgs).pdf ,67.76 KB

#73(2pgs).pdf ,59.18 KB

#74(2pgs).pdf ,73.42 KB

#75(2pgs).pdf ,53.13 KB

#76(2pgs).pdf ,59.09 KB

#67-Redacted-32pgs.pdf ,786.08 KB

#68-Redacted-2pgs.pdf ,85.05 KB

#69-Redacted-1pg-.pdf ,80.08 KB

#70-Redacted-12pgs.pdf ,443.76 KB

2015-001956FinalReleaseLtr.pdf ,59.23 KB
You have received attachment link(s) within this email sent via NIST Secure File Transfer. To retrieve the attachment(s), please click on the link(s).

From: foia

Thank you for your status inquiry.
A final response was sent today by separate email.
Janet W. Brumby


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