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Sep 15, 2014
Portland's Techno-Activism 3rd Monday: FOIA Party

There is a Form for That: Learn what the Government Thinks it Knows About You

Ever wonder what travel information the Department of Homeland Security maintains on you? There is a form for that. Want to know if you have an FBI file? There is a form for that. Want to know if law enforcement is setting up cell phone tracking towers in your area? There is a form for that.

In this interactive session of TA3M we supply attendees with an easy way to send requests to state and federal agencies for personal and public information.

For an example of the power of these requests, see these Ars Technica articles:

Come fill forms and then speculate on what you will find out!

We'll be bringing in a representative from to help facilitate the public records requests and providing all the necessary pieces for requesting your own personal data.

What is it?

This is the Techno-Activism 3rd Monday event for Portland, Oregon! Read more about techno-activism 3rd mondays.

Who should come?

Anyone interested in techno-activism. We invite coders, geeks, artists, and anyone else. No technical experience required.

Who's hosting?

The Privly Foundation will organize this and future TA3M Portland events.


If you're interested in this event, you might also be interested in the PDXTech4Good meetup.

Oct 21, 2019
Learn About the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) and Record Requests!
Northwest Academy 1208 SW 13th Ave, 2nd floor Portland, OR

Note: This meeting starts at 6:30 PM, later than our normal time. Doors will be monitored for access until 6:40 PM. If you arrive after that time, please post a note to the meeting page on Meetup, and we'll work to respond and let you in.

Reporters regularly bring us breaking news about government activities, including acts of malfeasance. They, of course, get tips from sources but also rely greatly on information found in public records requests. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted in 1966 to make government more transparent so journalists and the general public could hold the government accountable for its actions.

Surprisingly, though, the news media accounts for less than 10% of all FOIA requests![1] The largest three categories of requestors are businesses, individuals, and law firms, but other groups, such as universities and non-profits, also file requests.

The basic purpose of the act is to ensure an informed citizenry, which is vital to the functioning of a democratic society. While FOIA only applies to federal records, each state has its own laws and processes related to public records, and Oregon is no exception.

Getting started in submitting public records requests can be intimidating. What exactly is a public record, and how does an individual request one? Are there fees involved? What options are available if a request is denied?

The people at Lucy Parsons Labs have filed many requests for records, uncovering corruption and other wrongdoing in the Chicago area, and are willing to share their experiences and expertise with us! At this meeting, LPL's Community Organizing Chair will speak to us via teleconference and share tools and tips for submitting requests so we can keep government agencies both transparent and accountable to the people.

Join us for a great presentation and discussion about FOIA and public records requests! We'll have snacks, and there will be an opportunity for networking afterwards. We hope to see you there!

Schedule: 6:20 PM: Doors 6:30 PM: Introductions 6:35 PM: Presentation

Speaker bio:

Lucy Parsons Labs is a charitable Chicago-based collaboration between data scientists, transparency activists, artists, and technologists that sheds light on the intersection of digital rights and on-the-streets issues.

  1. Schouten, Cory (March 17, 2017). "Who files the most FOIA requests? It's not who you think". Columbia Journalism Review:

By attending this TA3M meeting, you agree to follow our Code of Conduct:

{short} Code of Conduct Portland's Techno-Activism 3rd Mondays is dedicated to providing an informative and positive experience for everyone who participates in or supports our community, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, socioeconomic status, caste, or creed.

Our events are intended to educate and share information related to technology and activism, and anyone who is there for this purpose is welcome. Because we value the safety and security of our members and strive to have an inclusive community, we do not tolerate harassment of members or event participants in any form.

Audio and video recording are not permitted at meetings without prior approval.

Our Code of Conduct ( applies to all events run by Portland's TA3M. Please report any incidents to the event organizer.