EPIC has appealed a denial of a Freedom of Information Act request that sought records concerning the sale of surveillance technology by U.S. companies to repressive regimes like Syria and Yemen. “The failure to adequately justify the claim that no segregable portions of records exist violates FOIA, especially given the past practice of releasing aggregate data in response to substantially similar requests,” the appeal states. EPIC also filed a follow-up request to the Department of Commerce seeking records related to the agency’s investigation of companies like Blue Coat Systems, which sold surveillance devices to Syria. Recently, President Obama signed an executive order authorizing U.S. officials to impose sanctions against persons involved in the use of information and communications technology to facilitate human rights abuses in Syria and Iran. For more information, see EPIC: Freedom of Information Act.
Thanks to EPIC for staying on this issue and request, as they are right: it is a matter of public interest and concern with respect to what our government is actually doing to control the flow of surveillance technology to oppressive regimes.