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Submission + - WSJ reporter has phones seized by DHS at border (

v3rgEz writes: A Wall Street Journal reporter has shared her experienced of having her phones forcefully taken at the border — and how DHS insists that your right to privacy does not exist when reentering the United States. Indeed, she's not alone: Documents previously released under FOIA show that the DHS has a long standing policy of warrantless (and even motiveless) seizures at the border, essentially removing any traveler's right to privacy.

Submission + - How author James Baldwin trolled the FBI (

v3rgEz writes: What's a guy supposed to do when the FBI starts tracking his movements, monitoring what he writes, and generally making life a little harder just for thinking out loud? In noted author James Baldwin's case, give them something to talk about: In recently FOIA'd documents, files on the celebrated African-American playwright show that he apparently leaked out that he was working on a book about the FBI — a book he never appeared to actually intend to write. The FBI dutifully freaked out about the very idea of the book.

Submission + - Pentagon's first bug bounty leads to new responsible disclosure policy (

v3rgEz writes: Between April 18 and May 12, over 1,400 attackers set their sights on the Pentagon, finding 138 security holes ranging from Cross-Site Scripting attacks to SQL injections. The attacks, part of the Department of Defense's first bug bounty program, were so successful the DOD decided to invite the hackers back and make it a regular event. It's also lead the DOD to decide on setting up a "responsible disclosure" policy, which a DOD official said would allow attackers to report flaws "without fear of prosecution" in the future.

Submission + - MuckRock crowdsourcing FOIA requests regarding CIA's Guatemala coup help (

v3rgEz writes: Looking to get a better sense of American adventurism overseas? Want to play a part in uncovering international intrigue? FOIA non-profit MuckRock is crowdsourcing requests to dig into the CIA's files on Guatemala. One of the site's users recently uncovered a 227-page index of files, and the site is allowing free filing of requests in order to help make the most interesting of the files publicly available. Titles are tantalizing, including gems like "Shipment of Foreign Arms Stored at [DELETED] Location" to "Guatemalan Officers Stalling on Ultimatum."

Submission + - State Department to release Clinton TPP records ... on date that doesn't exist ( 1

v3rgEz writes: Last July, reporter David Sirota filed a FOIA with the State Department for all communications sent by Hillary Clinton referencing the Trans Pacific Partnership. After an initial estimate that records would be ready for release by April 30th, 2016, just last week the agency wrote that due to unavoidable delays, that would have to be revised ... to November 31st, a date that is not only after the election, but which doesn't actually exist.

Submission + - State Department to release Clinton records on date that doesn't exist (

v3rgEz writes: Last July, International Business Times reporter David Sirota filed a FOIA with the State Department for all communications sent by Hillary Clinton referencing the Trans Pacific Partnership.

An initial estimate had the records be ready for release by April 2016, but since then the release date slipped, then slipped again, to not only a date beyond the election, but to a date that doesn't actually exist: November 31st, 2016.

Perhaps we'd understand what was going on better, except that a FOIA request to the State Department for their date estimation methodology filed in 2013 is still awaiting response, having had its own estimated completion date moved back six times.

Submission + - The NSA's delightfully D&D-inspired guide to the Internet (

v3rgEz writes: In 2007, two NSA employees put together “Untangling the Web,” the agencies official guide to scouring the World Wide Web. The 651-page guide cites Borges, Frued, and Ovid — and that’s just in the preface. MuckRock obtained a copy of the guide under an NSA Freedom of Information request, and has a write up of all the guide's amazing best parts.

Submission + - Utility metering vendor sues MuckRock for posting public docs on vulnerabilities ( 1

v3rgEz writes: Landis+Gyr, a multinational "smart meter" vendor owned by Toshiba, is suing public records news site MuckRock for posting documents received under a public records request that show the company failed to follow internal guidelines on physical access to metering data as well as other security procedures. The suit demands the immediate removal of the documents, which are currently posted on the website for anyone to download. The company is also demanding that the news site provide the identities of anyone who read the documents, which MuckRock has stated it won't due, even if it could.

Submission + - MuckRock and LilSis launch campaign to track how police monitor social media (

v3rgEz writes: Wondering if the last thing you shared on Facebook might get you on a watch list? Find yourself thinking twice before retweeting? You're not alone, and you might have good reasons: Increasingly, local police departments are tracking social media usage and monitoring individuals based on what they say, the pictures they post, and even the pages they like. FOIA site MuckRock and influence tracker LilSis have teamed up to launch a new project that helps uncover which police departments are monitoring social media, what their policies are, and more. Check out the project here, and if you're interested file a request of your own.

Submission + - Why did the DOJ redact a smiley face from a Cryptome FOIA request? (

v3rgEz writes: MuckRock recently released copies of the Department of Justice's files on document leak site Crytptome, after user Martin Peck filed a number of requests for them. The largest release of files comes from the Office of Professional Responsibility which includes a lot of processing notes, heavy redactions ... and a very strangely redacted smiley face on a PostIt note.

There's little telling why the eyes of the smiley were left to be but the mouth is deemed protected on privacy exemption (b)(6).

And the full documents, as always, are available on MuckRock.

Submission + - That time the Air Force dropped a nuke on South Carolina (

v3rgEz writes: In 1958, the Air Force accidentally dropped a Mark 6 nuclear bomb over Mars Bluff, South Carolina. Though the bomb's atomic capabilities were deactivated, its conventional payload wasn't, and photos recently released to MuckRock under FOIA give some scale to how massive the damage was — and how much, much worse it could have been.

Submission + - The fall of an American Emperor: Inside J. Edgar Hoover's FBI file (

v3rgEz writes: Commemorating the 44th anniversary of his passing last week, MuckRock has a two-part series looking at the rise and fall of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover — as told by his FBI files. In the first part, examining the long-serving director's rise to power, his files detail how he rounded up informants and took on suspicious German actors to clear his way towards the top while making the case for a domestic surveillance apparatus. The second half traces how, after almost half a century of remarkable power, Hoover had become increasingly paranoid and power hungry. Hoover's raw FBI files are available at the site as well.

Submission + - SharePoint 2016 hits general availability (

v3rgEz writes: Mobile first, cloud first is Satya Nadella's new mantra, and in today's SharePoint 2016 General Availability announcement, the focus couldn't have been clearer. Much of what was demoed was focused on improved mobile device functionality, including native apps on the major mobile operating systems, as well as the news that Microsoft was working on Bring-Your-Own-Key encrypting cloud data at rest so that only the company's admins could access it (Thanks, Snowden!).

Submission + - After acquiring EMC, Dell's name change is now official: Dell Technologies (

v3rgEz writes: As EMC World kicks off this week, there's at least some one big question answered about the recently acquired company: What will the Dell/EMC hybrid be called? Dell Technologies, according to a recent filing with the SEC. The filing says the new brand will encompass Dell, EMC, VMware, Pivotal, SecureWorks, RSA and Virtustream. "I think it has nice ring and I hope all of our team members, customers and partners feel included under our family umbrella and are as excited as I am about what is coming next," said company founder Michael Dell in the letter announcing the change.

Submission + - When Elvis didn't meet Hoover (

v3rgEz writes: While the meeting between President Nixon and the King is the stuff of legend, hidden within Elvis' FBI file is a lesser known but equally bizarre epilogue. While in Washington, Elvis repeatedly tried — and failed — to gain an audience with the man he called "the greatest living American," J. Edgar Hoover. In his persistence to meet the head of the FBI, Elvis did everything he could to butter the Bureau up, from talking up the national threat posed by the Beatles to providing a secret code name in case the nation ever needed his services. Read Elvis' full files at MuckRock.

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