Justice Department "Uses Aged Computer System To Frustrate FOIA Requests"

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

    Aug 20, 2006
    As a citizen, you have the right to inspect any non-exempt records held by a government agency, but there may be hurdles ranging from exorbitant fees, mere ignorance of workers, to cases like these where agencies may deliberately use poor software as a means of keeping information from you.

    FOIA requests to the FBI are processed by searching the Automated Case Support system (ACS), a software program that celebrates its 21st birthday this year. Not only are the records indexed by ACS allegedly inadequate, Shapiro told the Guardian, but the FBI refuses to search the full text of those records as a matter of policy. When few or no records are returned, Shapiro said, the FBI effectively responds “sorry, we tried” without making use of the much more sophisticated search tools at the disposal of internal requestors. “The FBI’s assertion is akin to suggesting that a search of a limited and arbitrarily produced card catalogue at a vast library is as likely to locate book pages containing a specified search term as a full text search of database containing digitized versions of all the books in that library,” Shapiro said.
  2. nightfly

    nightfly 2[H]4U

    Jun 7, 2011
    How is this different from what people have been doing forever? 'We looked, we didn't find anything' basically means they looked under their desk for it. So, technically, they looked. I get this from our ancillary staff all the time, then go look for myself, and what I asked for is right where it's supposed to be.
  3. raz-0

    raz-0 [H]ardness Supreme

    Mar 9, 2003
    It's different in that they are deliberately obstructing the law rather than just being lazy.

    I've had to do FOIA type data retrievals. Sometimes they suck and are guaranteed to not be 100% complete. But when that is the case, you are getting as good as we can get ourselves... because that's the law. The FBI is apparently not. It'd be like if I just searched the email subjects instead of the body when I got an external request, but searched the whole thing for internal ones.
  4. Lith1um

    Lith1um 2[H]4U

    Aug 3, 2004
    Not surprised, everyone knows that the former Secretary of state went as far as using a private server located in her own home in order to circumvent FOIA requests . Whenever the state department received a FOIA request they would just shrug their shoulders and respond something like , "We do not have any records related to this request".

    Our entire government is a syndicate.

    Quote, "As much as I've been investigated and all that, you know, why would I ever want to use email?"