Justice Department’s Most Recent Report on Data-Mining Activities
The Federal Agency Data Mining Reporting Act of 2007 requires federal agencies that engage in data-mining to prepare an annual report about those activities for Congress. Since the beginning, the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have prepared and publicly posted a report every year, including 2017.
The Department of Justice has been notably absent. It has never posted a single report.
What’s more, it appears that it hasn’t created a report in most years.
On July 16, 2016, under FOIA, I requested DOJ’s two most recent data-mining reports. They quickly sent me one report that was previously released under FOIA to the Federation of American Scientists. That report was posted by FAS, but the Justice Dept declined to post it themselves. It’s dated December 15, 2011, and it covers the period January 1, 2008, to September 30, 2009.
A few days ago, Justice sent me the second report, which is being made public for the first time, above.
This previously unseen report is dated March 3, 2015. This “annual” report covers three years of data-mining activity: from October 1, 2009, to September 30, 2012.
So, as of mid-July 2016 (the date of my request), Justice’s two most recent reports were from 2011 and 2015, covering almost five years of activity. The first report took over two years to prepare. The second report took two and a half years. Neither has been posted by the Justice Department.
I’ve made a FOIA request for any other reports that exist. I’ve seen references to a 2008 report (presumably the first report after the Reporting Act was passed) in other Justice Dept documents, and it’s possible that a new report has been issued since my request in mid-2016.