FOIA on a Floppy


Here's a picture of the most recent addition to the stack of FOIA clutter on my desk.

Luckily, Bill's computer still has a floppy drive so we could read the word document sent to us on a 3.5-inch diskette by the Department of Transportation. Responses to our FOIA request for congressional correspondence logs from Transportation have been trickling in slowly because each agency within the department has been replying separately.

The Department of Transportation is not the only government entity that's technologically challenged. The list is long. But the two responses we have received from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Interior stand out. Both the agencies sent us responses as PDF documents.

It appears as though they ran queries on their internal data system, printed out the results, scanned them as PDFs, copied them on a CD and snail-mailed them to us. Now, that's a lot of trouble for one FOIA request, in my opinion.

Thankfully, we received a fee waiver and did not have to pay for all the hours someone spent scanning.

In fact, the reply from FCC appears as though the correspondence logs were generated from an excel spreadsheet. As of now, I am asking them to just email the excel spreadsheets, at least for the future.