your foia portal is bad and you should feel bad
This week’s FOIA roundup: Detroiters overtaxed millions, the latest in police spyware, and prizes for your best FOIA idea
The weekly roundup on what is or should be public record. See something we missed? Let us know!
FBI circumvents FOIA laws by claiming info about FOIA processing would result in people circumventing the law
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been on a hot streak of terrible FOIA responses lately, and a series of heavily-redacted releases from this week shows that things are even worse when the FBI is dealing with FOIA requests about how the FBI handles FOIA requests.
When the Federal Bureau of Investigation officially launched its FOIA portal last year (amid much grumbling from the transparency community) the FBI presented it as a much-needed step towards modernization, with electronic releases replacing costly and inefficient CDs. However, in a series of puzzling FOIA responses - most recently to Emma Best, the Bureau appears to be charging a duplication fee of $15 for 500 pages - exactly as much as it did for CDs.
Declassified CIA emails released to Michael Morisy show that the Agency believed that their online FOIA Reading Room had been taken down by a vicious cyberattack. Later emails admitted, however, that the attacks against the Agency’s website had been unsuccessful - and that the damage had been entirely self-inflicted.
Yesterday, when Emma Best broke the news that the FBI would be shutting down its FOIA email address and directing all online submissions through its online portal, a few people sensibly asked just how bad that portal could be. We’re here to tell you how bad.