How To Get Your FBI File (and Other Information You Want From the Federal Government)

Presented at DEF CON 18 (2010), July 30, 2010, 10 a.m. (50 minutes)

Want to know the story behind the latest government scandal, or see what a three-letter agency knows about you? In this workshop, the Electronic Frontier Foundation will show you how to use two open government laws, the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, to ask for records from the federal government. We'll discuss what you can (and can't) get under these laws, how to write an effective open government request, how to appeal an agency's decision to withhold information, and how to figure out next steps.


  • Marcia Hofmann - Senior Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Marcia Hofmann is a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, where she focuses on electronic privacy, computer crime, and other civil liberties issues. Documents made public though her Freedom of Information Act work have been reported by the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, Fox News, and CNN, among others. Prior to joining EFF, Marcia was Staff Counsel and Director of the Open Government Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), where she worked on a broad range of privacy issues and spearheaded EPIC's efforts to learn about emerging government policies in the post-9/11 era. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and Mount Holyoke College.