FOIA Data Mining

John Young jya at
Sun Nov 30 15:07:37 PST 2003

We've made a few FOIA requests, but none have produced a
flood of paper like that made to the US Army INSCOM for a list
of military intelligence files provided by anonymous, most dating 
from the 1940s and 1950s but some up to the 70s and 80s.

An aspect of the response has been INSCOM forwarding our 
request to a host of other agencies which originated certain 
files: State, Justice, FBI, CIA, other Army sections, Air Force,
Navy, and so on. These have been dribbling in, nearly all
heavily redacted or flat out refused.

A characteristic of the responses has been the labels on
the envelopes: nearly all typed and thereby capable of being
added to, or already entered into, a database on me and

One exception: the FBI, which hand writes the address. Is 
this due to crappy label printing capability (which we all share) 
or an attempt to obscure that the address has been, or could
be, put in a data base? Transmittal letters are typed so that 
means the data has been digitized (or typewriter written), so 
why else the hand writing? 

Has the Bureau been sued for digital labelling correspondents?
Do printed labels tell too much about the agency, source of toner,
supplier of fonts and word-processing programs, paper manufacturer,
tiny flecks of skin and/or fingerprints on the label adhesive? Does
hand writing analysis show the origin of the ink, the birthplace and
ethnicity of the writer, her/his state of mind -- on the verge of a
nervous breakdown, ready to kill or leak or go over to the enemy,
sexually drained by bosses horniness, a skinny dreaming of 
Twinkies -- thus does the laboratory investigate FOIA requests
sent to the FBI directly and more importantly those forwarded
by other the enemy: other agencies spilling the beans about
vast data gathering.

Redactions are an art form, there have been several NYC exhibits
of redacted FBI files, and more coming from their twisted sisters.

The great barrels of ink used to make redactions contains volumes 
of raw data which will be revealed when the ink disappears.

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list