FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: FBI will stop accepting FOIA requests by email

FOIA News (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

FBI will revert to using fax machines, snail mail for FOIA requests

By Dell Cameron, The Daily Dot, Feb. 6, 2017

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will implement a new policy next month likely to further frustrate people seeking public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

At the beginning of March, the FBI will no longer accept FOIA requests via email. Instead, requesters will have to rely on fax machines and standard mail (“snail mail”) in order to communicate with the agency’s records management division. The agency will also accept a fraction of requests through an online portal, provided users agree to a terms-of-service agreement and are willing to provide the FBI with personal information, including a phone number and physical address.

The new procedure mirrors that of other agencies that intentionally rely on archaic technologies to process public records requests. The Central Intelligence Agency, for instance, only accepts records requests by fax, while the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which researches advanced technologies on behalf of the Pentagon, also ditched email a few years ago in favor of old-school fax machines. The FBI’s records division has also been known to use computers from the 1980s specifically to create technological roadblocks.

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