FOIPA adventures

coderman coderman at
Sun Sep 27 01:52:56 PDT 2015

On 9/22/15, coderman <coderman at> wrote:
> most interesting reply ...

less interesting reply, but a more interesting response on my part:

FBI claiming privacy interest to refuse ALL of my FOIA regarding the
Sklyarov / Elcomsoft incident years back:

this is my first attempt to argue compelling public interest against a
privacy exemption,
 it is as follows;

Please recognize the public interest in this request for responsive
records as follows:

First and foremost, extensive media attention during this period was
generated due to the intersection of "hacking" and "reverse
engineering" combined with the DMCA provisions deeming some
technologies illegal at interest to the information technology
industry as a whole. This reason alone is sufficient and compelling
justification for transparency in a watershed case, however, I shall

Second, this case involved not a US citizen, but a foreign national.
As has recently been scoured in the technical press, Wassenar with its
incumbent BIS obligations has brought discussion of the risks
foreigners face visiting the EU and US, in addition to US citizens
abroad who now find themselves subject to severe technical controls
due to their industry participation. I feel that surely this must
provide beyond sufficient justification for public interest in
documents responsive to this request, yet I shall continue to exhaust
the relevant perspectives in my quiver of inquiry.

Thus thirdly, the conference venue, DEF CON security conference,
itself of notoriety and high esteem in the technical community, was
the operating domain for the closing moves of this investigation. The
logistics and technical considerations for operating in this domain
thus also compounds the public interest in the activity for which the
records responsive to this request have been requested.

Fourthly, and there is a fourthly for sure, the activities undertaken
by the agency were at risk of alienating a talent pool the Bureau has
increasingly courted and pursued for their invaluable skills in
digital forensic analysis, reverse engineering, and information
security. Balancing actions before a critical group who also interacts
frequently with the agency, and from whom the Bureau itself draws
professional talent, amplifies the interest and relevance of this
inquiry, and the need for unrestrained transparency when identifying
documents responsive to this request.

Lastly and finally, yet not to diminish the inherent privacy rights
afforded to all earth humans, inalienable, with justice for all, the
privacy rights which this agency has cited in justification for
limiting the documents responsive to this request, please note that
the privacy exemptions provided by law are specific and limited to
situations where there is a compelling personal privacy interest. The
agency has not provided any compelling privacy interest on behalf of
the fine Mr. Sklyarov, and his foreign status removes the common
privacy concerns of an individual within a domestic community at issue
in responsive documents. It is fully reasonable, per Department of
Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, that the FBI
may provide documents detailing "what they were up to" in this
investigation, without undue burden on the privacy rights of a foreign
citizen briefly visiting to attend a public conference in the United

Please do recognize and acquiescence to the public interest so broadly in view.

Best regards,

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