FBI File: Google
PDF: FBI File: Google (pre-processed material)
>>> Under FOIA, I asked FBI for its investigative file on Google (that is, the corporation Google LLC). They sent me nine PDFs of pre-processed (previously released) material. I arranged them into chronological order in one PDF (above), with the bookmarks indicating the separate original files.
A lot of the material concerns attacks on Google’s website. Another section involves a third-party extortion attempt against a company that was removed from Google’s index. There’s something involving a grand jury subpoena. And a mysterious woman taking photos of an unmarked Google data center in Georgia.
The PDF ends with the most interesting section – a briefing packet prepared for then-Director Robert Mueller when he and three other feds met with Google bigwigs for a November 2010 meeting called “Going Dark.” The confab was presumably about FBI being able to get quick access to encrypted communications and information. (Mueller and his team met with execs from Facebook later that day and from Microsoft the next day.) Portions of this section are classified Secret and redacted under FOIA exemption b(1) (classified material).
The cover letter I received with these documents includes standard language indicating that further documents “may” exist, in addition to the pre-processed material I was sent. This usually indicates that further material does exist. I’ve already filed a separate request for the rest of the Google file and will post future releases to this page.
Another bundle of previously released FBI FOIA releases about Google was obtained by the Campaign for Accountability’s Google Transparency Project. It’s here (and mirrored here). It’s around 130 pages longer than what I received from FBI <sigh>, but I was sent three sections that aren’t in the Google Transparency Project’s file. (This is a great example of why it’s important for multiple people to make FOIA requests for the same or similar material at different times. You receive different things, albeit with a lot of overlap.)