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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Cryptome shut down over Microsoft DMCA takedown notice

The site [w:Cryptome] has been shut down over a [w:Digital Millennium Copyright Act] (DMCA) notice from Microsoft alleging copyright infringement after Cryptome published a 22-page Microsoft document outlining how the company stores private user data in its web-connected servers. The document also explains how government agencies can access that personal data. John Young has put up an alternative website while the original domain is locked by Network Solutions. Wired news blog “Threat Level” and ReadWriteWeb have more context.

Feel free to download the document entitled “Microsoft® Online Services Global Criminal Compliance Handbook” (.pdf).

Good thing libraries have collected Cryptome archives on CDROM and have harvested the site as well!

[Thanks BoingBoing!]

DOD withdraws embarrassing report

The Defense Department has withdrawn from its web site a report that had exonerated it from using retired generals for propaganda.

In a highly unusual reversal, the Defense Department’s inspector general’s office has withdrawn a report it issued in January exonerating a Pentagon public relations program that made extensive use of retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks.

…In addition to repudiating its own report, the inspector general’s office took the additional step of removing the report from its Web site.

The DOD memo withdrawing the report:

The web page (dodig.mil/inspections/IE/Reports.htm) where the report originally was listed now only links to the withdrawal memo and DOD blocks that page from being archived by the Internet Archive and others. Cryptome, however, grabbed a copy and that copy is still available: ie-2009-004.zip (“Examination of Allegations Involving DoD Public Affairs Outreach Program, Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, January 14, 2009, Report Number IE-2009-004”.)

(Libraries interested in preserving fugitive documents might well consider purchasing Cryptome DVDs for $25. Two DVDs of the Cryptome collection contain 47,000 files from June 1996 to January 2009, ~6.9 GB).

Amy Goodman interviewed David Barstow recently:

For earlier coverage of this issue on FGI, see: Military analysts.

John Young, Cryptome founder, profiled

Editor’s note (5/25/09): the original link to Radar Magazine has gone dead. However, I found the article archived in the Internet Archive’s wayback machine and so updated the link to point to the archived copy. that is all.

This is a must read. Radar Magazine has just posted an article profiling John Young, the founder of Cryptome ("Secrets and Lies: The man behind the world’s most dangerous website." By John Cook). Young, a New York-based architect, is better known as one of the net’s most ardent foes of government secrecy. Willian Arkin, washingtonpost.com columnist and NBC News military analyst, calls Cryptome, "the Google of national security." There are high-resolution satellite photos of President Bush’s Crawford ranch, technical documents detailing how the National Security Agency spies on computer traffic, even the home addresses and telephone numbers of government officials, including former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. This is a truly amazing hodgepodge of information and fascinating background into a man who’s single-minded focus is government secrecy.


Young is a mad scientist of secrecy, working with little more than monomaniacal focus and an Internet connection to turn the tables on the spooks and expose what he regards as a worldwide criminal network of intelligence operatives. And the spies don’t like it.


If you haven’t bought the Cryptome DVD data dump (and I know that most of you haven’t!!), do so RIGHT NOW. For $25, you’ll get a DVD of 11 years of Cryptome archives — 41,000 files (4.4GB)  from June 1996 to June 2007 (scroll down the page on cryptome.org and you’ll see the information on how to order). I don’t know how you’ll catalog it, but EVERY library in the country should have this DVD, if only for the complete transcripts of the New York trial of Osama bin Laden and 21 others for the Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings that are included in the collection. See more here of Cryptome’s most controversial posts.

[Thanks BoingBoing!]

DOJ Report on FBI’s Use of National Security Letters

A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of National Security Letters (199 pages, 36MB) U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General March 2007

Other copies: PDF at Washington Post, and a compressed version of only 12 meg at FAS; and an html version at cryptome

Is USGS Seamless website down?

Is USGS Seamless website down?

The USGS Seamless website (Seamless Data Distribution System, Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS)), which has provided high-resolution satellite imagery of several dozen US cities without restriction and which has always been publicly accessible, now has a message on the homepage that says “The system is currently experiencing an interruption of service. All Seamless servers and services will be unavailable until further notice.” Links are still active on the home page, though, and some still work and link to other servers. It is unclear what is online and what is not available.

Cryptome (29 April 2006) wonders if we are about to lose access…

Seamless began to go insane about a week ago, at times freezing, or delivering a variety of messages, and at one point requiring a password for access. Here’s hoping Seamless has not been targeted for public closing by the secrecy-obsessed.