Sen. Wyden questions FBI on FOIA ID requirement

​Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has asked FBI Director James Comey to explain why the bureau is asking for government-issued IDs when the public files a Freedom of Information Request on its eFOIA platform.

Sen. Ron Wyden, pictured here in 2011, wants more info from the FBI on its new FOIA requirement. (JD Lasica/Flickr)

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has asked FBI Director James Comey to explain why the bureau is asking for government-issued IDs when members of the public file a Freedom of Information Request on its new eFOIA platform.

Wyden sent a letter Monday, saying the controversial new requirement had no basis in law.

[Read More: The FBI wants your ID if you want their information]


“I write to express my strong concern that the ID requirement presents serious legal and privacy concerns,” the letter reads. “The FBI’s new eFOIA system imposes a requirement that can neither be found in statutory law nor case law.”

The FBI has stayed tight-lipped about the new requirement, which was listed as the bureau released the eFOIA platform in open beta last week, along with a rule that FOIA requests could only be made once per day.

At the time, a number of government advocates chided the FBI for the stipulation, saying it would have a chilling effect, leading people to refrain from filing requests.

According to the Justice Department, the only identity-related requirement applies to people filing FOIA requests for records about themselves. They have to sign a letter verifying their identity under penalty of perjury.

Wyden also asked Comey how long the FBI would keep requestors’ IDs on record, who has access to those records and if they will be entered into the bureau’s facial recognition database.


The FBI had no immediate response to FedScoop’s request for comment.

You can read the letter below.

Contact the reporter on the this story at Follow him on Twitter at @gregotto

Greg Otto

Written by Greg Otto

Greg Otto is Editor-in-Chief of CyberScoop, overseeing all editorial content for the website. Greg has led cybersecurity coverage that has won various awards, including accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Prior to joining Scoop News Group, Greg worked for the Washington Business Journal, U.S. News & World Report and WTOP Radio. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Temple University.

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