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Since Snowden Leaks, NSA's FOIA Requests Are Up 1,000 Percent 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the checking-the-list dept.
v3rgEz writes "A veritable FOIA frenzy ensued in 2013 following a series of leaks about NSA surveillance programs, recently released documents show. From June 6 to September 4, the National Security Agency's FOIA load increased 1,054 percent over its 2012 intake. In that three-month span, the agency received 3,382 public records requests. For comparison, the NSA received just 293 requests over the same period in 2012. While a few have netted new details about NSA surveillance operations, such as a contract with French security firm VUPEN, the majority appear to have been rejected. MuckRock has a guide on filing with the NSA to maximize your chances of actually getting something back."
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Since Snowden Leaks, NSA's FOIA Requests Are Up 1,000 Percent

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 07, 2013 @05:08PM (#45063759)

    Yep, most transparent administration in history

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by phrostie (121428)

      just wondering, but how many were by Bush?

    • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Monday October 07, 2013 @07:22PM (#45064717) Homepage

      Hey it is the most transparent administration in history!

      It just says more about previous administrations than anything else.

      • Hey it is the most transparent administration in history!

        It just says more about previous administrations than anything else.

        “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.”

        • Re:Churchill (Score:5, Informative)

          by s.petry (762400) on Monday October 07, 2013 @10:53PM (#45066183)

          The US is not a Democracy, it's a Democratic Republic. You may be aware of that and just took a common short cut and called it Democracy, but the difference is vast. Democracy is the rule of mob and a Republic is a rule of law. Both of these forms of Government, in addition to most others, were discussed 2,500 or so years ago by the same person that came up with the Republic named Socrates.

          If the original design of a Republic was followed, it would be superb. The problem is that it's difficult to keep human nature out of the equation. The original design required term limits, a strong education system, and no political class. The best Philosophers, as defined by Socrates, would be the only ones allowed to represent the citizens of the Republic.

          If you think the pains that the US Government has gone through to make people ignorant to Philosophy and Rhetoric are accidental, you are not even trying to look. People are not introduced to Philosophy until College and that's only if they choose to take the class. Most Universities will discourage the class and push students toward Humanities (Social Studies). Most US Citizens have never read "The Republic" and have no idea that this was the blueprint for their Government.

          • That was a quote from Sir Winston Churchill, and it still applies.

            • by s.petry (762400)

              To where? There are no plain democracies in the world, and never have been. Churchill may have been a fine motivator, but the quote and statement you made are both technically incorrect. If it was a small thing, I would just be pedantic. It's a huge thing however, and worth making sure people understand the difference.

          • The problem seems to be that the founders envisioned three independent bodies [legislative, executive, judicial] that can keep an eye on each other. But now, all three bodies are controlled by the same group.

            • by s.petry (762400)

              There was also a separation of powers between Federal, State, and Local levels which has been destroyed. It's kind of a chicken and egg scenario is to what came first, but they have both been happening for a very long time. Hence, our current shitty State of the Union.

    • by BadPirate (1572721)

      http://www.wcl.american.edu/lawandgov/cgs/about.cfm#scorecard [american.edu] -- Kind of a useless measurement if it's not comparative, but there is LOTS of data there, and most of it indicates that despite the fact that the NSA spying programs were "revealed" during Obama's administration (they existed for Bush too!) -- There are good signs that the government is taking steps towards better transparency as promised, and progress in this area has been ongoing, making the "most transparent" statement a true one, but leaving

  • by intermodal (534361) on Monday October 07, 2013 @05:10PM (#45063775) Homepage Journal

    Without Snowden, the people submitting these FOIA requests wouldn't have known what to request, which basically kills the point of actually making the requests. FOIA requires unduly high burden on the requester to actually already know (at least in part) what they're looking for. It's not really written to create transparency, but the illusion of transparency.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 07, 2013 @05:21PM (#45063893)

      FOIA requires unduly high burden on the requester to actually already know (at least in part) what they're looking for. It's not really written to create transparency, but the illusion of transparency.

      Illusion? Hardly. Whats more transparent than invisible?

    • Can you request an index of FOIAable documents?

      • by Christoph (17845)

        FOIA and similar state laws generally do not require the government to CREATE data, such as an index like you describe.

      • No, the FOIA only involves the disclosure of existing data, not the creation of data to facilitate public disclosure.

    • How about a new law explicitly insisting that ALL government data, except for personal data covered by privacy laws, must be made public within (e.g.) 24 hours. Exceptions only on a similar basis to the way warrants are done now: apply before a judge and get an x-month publication ban (x not to exceed say 72 months, except for real state secrets, where it could be longer).

      • We'd have to be pretty specific about what "made public" means, as well as "government data" and "personal data", but I think that's a good start.

      • by iamgnat (1015755)

        except for real state secrets, where it could be longer).

        And just how much of what the NSA does do you think isn't categorized as "state secrets"? Who is going to judge what really is a state secret? The same ones that approved the things we're already complaining about?

        All such a law would do is make clueless people feel better, give incumbents a "see what I did for your benefit" talking point, and generate more work and cost for government offices to comply with it (even the ones that still aren't being honest).

        I'm not saying that I wouldn't want such a thing t

  • Tomorrow's news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doug Otto (2821601) on Monday October 07, 2013 @05:16PM (#45063839)
    "Government use of black toner up 1000 percent!"
    • by Nugoo (1794744)
      While funny, your comment is true if and only if the government uses 100% of its black toner for FOIA responses. More to the point, it's irrelevant how much of each response is redacted.
    • "Government use of black toner up 1000 percent!"

      More like 1250 percent. Redactions take extra toner.

  • are they all slashdotters?
  • ...for a list of everyone whose communications they've intercepted this year. That ought to keep their printers tied up for awhile.

    • by Thud457 (234763) on Monday October 07, 2013 @05:50PM (#45064137) Homepage Journal
      shouldn't take too long to print out one page saying " ALL of them"

      They just filter Congress from the copy they send to the Israelis.
      And Goldman-Sachs from the copy the SEC gets.


      They should just open source the data and let reddit crowdsource the terrerist finding. /snrk!
      Hey, "if you're not doing anything wrong, you've nothing to hide"(tm), right?
  • Doesn't matter - know what your government is doing in your name with your money is deemed unessential, so none will be answered during the shutdown anyway.

    • by plopez (54068)

      In addition, during budget negotiations such non-essential services will not be reviewed for candidacy to be re-funded. After all we have tax cuts to the wealthy and price supports for gerbil farmers to think of.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So they fixed the fax machine then?

  • by p00kiethebear (569781) on Monday October 07, 2013 @10:32PM (#45066051)
    Interesting how this journalist figured out that 'one thousand percent' sounds a hell of a lot bigger than 'tenfold' or 'ten times as many.' Hope he's getting paid the big bucks.
  • irony (Score:1, Funny)

    by Korruptionen (2647747)
    Does anyone find the fact that it's called "Freedom of INFORMATION act" ironic at all?? I sure do.

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