Friday, November 15, 2013

Cryptome founder John Young: FOIA has become a confidence game

Michael Morisy
November 15, 2013

For lovers of primary documents, there are few sites as rewarding, and beguiling, as Cryptome. A relatively unadorned site operating since 1996, it is host to tens of thousands of documents, many generated by various government agencies around the world, with a focus on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance. In today’s Requester’s Voice, founder John Young shares the method to the site’s madness, how broken public access poisons media and democracy, and why he suggests spending just one hour a year on FOIA.

MuckRock: Cryptome is a repository for all sorts of documents, data, and mirrored websites. How do you decide what is a good fit for the site, and where does the material come from?

John Young: Material focuses on fits infosec, comsec, spying (all kinds, gov-com-edu-org- personal), and the underlying technology of those.

Material comes from thousands of contributors from gov-com-edu-org-personal, some unknown, some who wish to reman anonymous, others who wish to be identified or don’t care.

MuckRock: How much is from FOIA Cryptome’s administrators have filed, and do you get contributions from others who have used FOIA?

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