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State of Alaska Prints Out Palin's E-Mails; Online Distribution 'Impractical'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the my-power-is-inconvenience dept.

Government 516

ZipK writes "Three years after numerous citizens and news organizations requested the release of Sarah Palin's gubernatorial e-mails, the State of Alaska is finally making ready to make them available. In print. In Juneau. News organizations must fly or sail to Juneau and pick up the 24,000 page disclosure in person. The state claims it impractical to release the original electronic versions of the e-mails, so the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Mother Jones, ProPublica and MSNBC each plan to turn some or all of the printouts back into searchable, easily distributed electronic data. Thanks, Alaska." Where's WikiLeaks North?

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It's pretty simple (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400046)

Do you realize how long that internet tube would have to be to reach Alaska?

Re:It's pretty simple (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400184)

Do you realize how long that internet tube would have to be to reach Alaska?

If they had some clever programmers they could insert data packets into any air bubbles in the oil pipeline already coming from Alaska.

Re:It's pretty simple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400398)

They're electronic mail. E-mail. They are in electronic form to begin with. The state is already online or else e-mail wouldn't be in use. WTF is the difficulty here? What's the good, solid, gee-golly-just-no-way-around-it reason for this?

Is this like those Baby Boomer MBA managers who, despite sitting at a decent computer workstation, still insist on having their secretary print out each of their memos and e-mails? For no good reason except they just really hate trees or something?

(Note, any "eyestrain" arguments can be answered with two words: LCD panels. At least if you know anything about how they differ from a CRT. If you don't, why the hell are you commenting about them?)

Re:It's pretty simple (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400512)

My guess is that either they are scared of faulty pdf redaction or they do it out of spite, like paying a loan back in pennies.

Re:It's pretty simple (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400578)

It's almost as though somebody knows that they are legally obligated to release certain documents; but also knows that the law nowhere requires that they remove the gigantic stick from their ass before doing so(plus, public records laws often allow some sort of cost recovery fee, so printing them all out will allow you to stick it to those uppity 'journalists' and their 'transparency' to a much greater extent...)

I'm strongly suspecting that, unless s/he happens to be a kool-aid drinking Palinista, the relevant IT person probably yawned and had the stuff packaged up in 20 minutes(probably in an Outlook 2003 .pst; but electronic and easily internet-transmissible at least). The bitter; but legally obligated, records handling person then presumably took over...

Re:It's pretty simple (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400582)

It wouldn't surprise me if everything is in various Yahoo accounts and they have no idea how to get them out other than hit the big print button.

Re:Giant Print Button (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400802)

Except they couldn't pay a 17 year old kid ten dollars to make an Adobe PDF printer default and write a script to batch-print all of them ... so when they hit they hit print once they wind up with ... pdfs!
Then you pay the kid ten more dollars to "combine all the pdfs with Adobe" into a big hash and produce 25 USB-stick copies of the archive and a server copy with backup. Throw in $5 for Pizza Overhead for the kid.

Seriously. It's like they're trying to make themselves known forever to be obtuse.

Re:It's pretty simple (3, Informative)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400732)

The difficulty is nothing. This is done on purpose to make it as hard as possible to get at the materials without doing something illegal. It's otherwise known as skirting the law.

Re:It's pretty simple (1)

Adriax (746043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400700)

That would be unidirectional traffic only, and data leakage from the palin emails would contaminate the oil carrier. No one would buy oil that sour.

Re:It's pretty simple (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400610)

More critically, do you know how long it would take to convert e-mails into electronic format?

Re:It's pretty simple (4, Funny)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400788)

Maybe we should ask the Russians to grab a copy. They are real close.

Dear Google (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400050)

Any chance you hire out your book scanning equipment? Or does it only work on bound books, rather than stacks of paper?

Re:Dear Google (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400082)

Palin's emails were all in comic-sans. No idea how well Google's OCR would work on that...

Re:Dear Google (0)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400914)

On top of that the grammar and spelling errors could cause a total systems meltdown, let alone the logistical fallacies.

Re:Dear Google (1)

Liquidretro (1590189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400124)

An intern in about 2 hours could turn this all into text. A high quality ADF scanner with quality OCR software would chew this up and produce a couple of MB of text files. All I can say is, its 2011 and this is a state government, we should be surprised they are using email at all.

Re:Dear Google (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400736)

Who says they didn't use a custom wavy font to make it harder to OCR?

Re:Dear Google (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400740)

I think the point everyone is trying to make is that they were electronic in the first place. Along the way, the state turned them into paper versions. Legally, the state knows that they have to release them under freedom of information laws and they can no longer delay. That doesn't mean they will make it easy.

Well (1)

chtit_draco (1850522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400092)

There's no need to hack her Yahoo! account anymore...or is there?

WTF? (2, Insightful)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400098)

This is total bullshit. Even the most vendor locked email client has export options (I'm looking at you Outlook). Even then, it's trivial to use a print-to-PDF program to keep everything electronic.

This stinks to high heaven and me thinks this means there's something in there people don't want to get out. Reporters are going to have a field day.

Re:WTF? (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400132)

The reporters will have a field day, the poor interns they get to convert this into a digital form and then read over them in their entirety to try to find something interesting are most likely not very excited...

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400138)

Plus it'll be easier for any embarassing pages to get lost. It takes a bit of knowledge to redact electronic data without someone noticing - a gap filled with nulls, a pointer to the wrong location, a file header specifying too large a size. But any idiot can chuck some paper in the shredder.

Re:WTF? (2)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400140)

This certainly does stink, especially when you consider that a large number of emails have been omitted.

Re:WTF? (5, Insightful)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400164)

What's even more worrying is that there will be no way to prove anything was redacted or censored, or is or isn't the original unedited email. They will just release 25,000 pages of mundane drivel for journalists to pore through for months while she gets elected, but the really bad stuff was simply <SHIFT>> <DELETE> 'd before printing.

Re:WTF? (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400224)

if you or I tried to pull this shit, we'd wind up in jail for obstruction of justice.

the fact that she gets away with this means our system is broken. yet another red warning light that the revolution needs to happen and happen soon.

Re:WTF? (1, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400472)

yet another red warning light that the revolution needs to happen and happen soon.

And yet you will do absolutely nothing to make it happen besides bitching and moaning and possibly posting some tired Thomas Jefferson quotes. You just want to sit back and play armchair general from your parent's basement like a pansy.

Re:WTF? (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400724)

I resent your assertion that I'm doing nothing. Since I discovered that China has an excellent, and amazingly inexpensive, supply of both patriot blood and(when the public is especially upset about some corruption scandal) tyrant blood, I've had my undocumented groundskeeper, Juan, out watering the tree of liberty every single day! I am the very model of a postmodern, globalized, supply-chain-optimized, revolutionary!

Re:WTF? (2)

djrogers (153854) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400500)

It'd only be obstruction of justice if she were being accused of a crime. Did I miss something?

Re:WTF? (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400692)

This was the state playing goalie for her. I do agree that it's ridiculous that the government can do this, but when people do something similar (like pay a $25 fine with pennies) they get another fine.

I do not agree that just because it's printed that the chances of modification is any different. These are emails after all. Not exactly the creme de la creme of tamper resistant files.

Re:WTF? (1)

LinksAwakener (1081617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400936)

It is against Federal law to decline or otherwise punish someone for paying in pennies. Sure, that doesn't stop people from trying to punish you, but if you're an ass to begin with by paying in pennies, they're sure as heck allowed to try and be an ass back. But anyone that knows any facts about currency know that pennies are legal tender for repaying debt, private or public.

Re:WTF? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400790)

Obstruction of justice would not be the correct charge; but most public records laws(while not exactly toothily enforced, and often filled with trivially exploitable loopholes) do make failure to disclose as required an offense of some kind.

Re:WTF? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400200)

This is total bullshit. Even the most vendor locked email client has export options (I'm looking at you Outlook).

You obviously have never tried to export email(s) in IncrediMail...

Re:WTF? (2)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400484)

This is just a slap to the face of the papers that are trying to embarrass Palin. Clearly, whether there's something there or not, being printed is not going to stop the papers from scavenging through it to find whatever they can.

The only possibility of subterfuge is if the state tries to leave out emails that should have been included, but it's not like digital copies prevents anyone from doing that either.

Re:WTF? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400506)

This isn't BS, it is hilarious and good for Alaska. Sure they could email it to the journo's but why bother when you can force them to buy the book and tax their pinko asses for spending the night in an Alaskan hotel.

Nothing is being hidden. All the emails are being released. The only difference is the Alaskan government can have a chuckle at the puny NY Times dork sent to pick up all 24K pages.

Government waste... (2)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400870)

Clever indeed, using a strategy that 5 year olds get scolded for. Are the people of Alaska - who this government is directly accountable to - so beaten and downtrodden to permit this kind of bullying by the people that work for them?

What is the GoA afraid of? Is Palin possibly done something more embarrassing in email than she does in front of TV cameras? Makes my head spin...

I never thought of Alaskans as meek or timid, but learn something new every day.

Re:WTF? (2)

wykell (1323665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400574)

You've obviously never heard of IBM Lotus Notes, if you think Outlook is the most vendor locked email client out there.

Re:WTF? (0, Troll)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400838)

I am not surprised at this, but I agree it stinks. Palin seems to have some very loyal/scared shitless followers and way too much influence up there (or anywhere else for that matter). I am of course biased but I consider her to be:
A) The stupidest and most ignorant politician I have ever heard speak.
B) A massive threat to the USA. Stupid people will listen to her and vote for her in their ignorance, and there is no shortage of stupid, ignorant people.

From what I have read she has a frightening temper when she thinks she's been wronged and a strong preference towards exacting petty revenge. The article I read on her that the author was almost unable to get any comments about her at all from the people who lived near her, or who had worked for her and it seemed to be induced by fear.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400874)

This is total bullshit. Even the most vendor locked email client has export options (I'm looking at you Outlook). Even then, it's trivial to use a print-to-PDF program to keep everything electronic.

This stinks to high heaven and me thinks this means there's something in there people don't want to get out. Reporters are going to have a field day.

You must have never used the greatest mail client ever, Lotus Notes

Striesand Effect (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400120)

The state claims it impractical to release the original electronic versions of the e-mails

That's pretty good evidence of malfeasance all of it's own.

At least the journos now know there'll be a reason to collect and analyse all of those US Letter pages...

Re:Striesand Effect (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400456)

There's some reasonableness to their statement. The article points out that Juneau has limited bandwidth. If they make a digital release available for download from the Internet they're going to impede their IT services that Alaskan citizens may or may not use.

On the other hand, there's no reason why they have to distribute the emails in paper. They could have written the emails to CD or DVD and mailed that to anyone that requested it.

Re:Striesand Effect (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400522)

Have they perhaps heard of the Cloud?
This is one of those times it makes sense. Just toss it up on Amazon e3 and let them at it.

Re:Striesand Effect (1)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400586)

Or set up a torrent and take the seed offline as soon as there's a full copy (or two) in the wild.

Re:Striesand Effect (2)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400604)

LOL -- Limited bandwidth. All they would have to do is save the emails to SOME sort of digital format and send it, one time, to another non-Juneau server and let distribution be done from there.

Or, if that's entirely too complicated, put the files on some thumb drives and overnight the big news agencies and ask THEM to host it.

Limited bandwidth...

Re:Striesand Effect (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400720)

I said it was a "reasonable argument" for why they weren't hosting it. It's not a reasonable argument to justify only distributing the emails in a paper copy.

27,000 pages. Even assuming an extremely favorable half cent per page cost you could still make about 500 DVDs with the emails on it for the same cost of printing just one copy. And even going at DVD printing shops which may charge you $3 per copy, that's still a LOT better than printing the damn thing.

Re:Striesand Effect (1)

Denogh (2024280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400706)

There's also no reason why they have to host them in Alaska. Why not dish out a bit of cash and have some other state with more bandwidth take the beating?

Re:Striesand Effect (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400730)

US Postal service and Fedex have pretty amazing bandwidth. A few petabytes of data can be easily transferred within a day or so.

Re:Striesand Effect (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400830)

There's some reasonableness to their statement. The article points out that Juneau has limited bandwidth. If they make a digital release available for download from the Internet they're going to impede their IT services that Alaskan citizens may or may not use.

Oh please, these emails in plaintext and compressed might fit on a floppy disk, definitely on a cheap flash drive. Even as PDFs they'd be no bigger than any of the movies half the people there are torrenting right now.

On the other hand, there's no reason why they have to distribute the emails in paper. They could have written the emails to CD or DVD and mailed that to anyone that requested it.

This. This is what proves that it's just a dick move. What format were the files in before they were printed out? Even if it was JPEGs it would have been more convenient.

I don't even WORK for them... (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400910)

...but I'll bet you $100 that I could get archive.org or one of the dozens of other repositories of information to host these files within the week.

Someone is just trying to make things difficult for the press.

Re:Striesand Effect (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400536)

all of those US Letter pages...

Except, of course, the ones that will get misplaced.

Re:Striesand Effect (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400538)

But it's so much easier to "lose" pages, or mix up the order, or assign additional pages to the wrong email. Just out on interest, does her printer have a special "smudge" button, like Nixon's tape recorder sometimes forgot to record?

Well, of course. (5, Funny)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400134)

As we learned during the last Presidential campaign, Alaska is close enough to Soviet Russia that instead of sending emails to Alaska, email sends you to Alaska.

All printed in (1)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400154)

Wingdings or Comicsans I imagine.

Simply WOW (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400158)

I wonder how often they had to fix their dot matrix printer paper so that they could print?

nice environmentally-concious idea (0, Flamebait)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400172)

"our bandwidth is too small! we're only alaska!"

of course, copying the data *once* to somewhere in the main US that has good hosting is way behind the thought process of alaskans?

nah, lets print out what started out as electronic data files. AND lets insist people fly here causing more carbon-harm.

this bitch should be palin-slapped.

Re:nice environmentally-concious idea (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400646)

I was with you until the pointless misogyny at the end of your post.

Re:nice environmentally-concious idea (0, Troll)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400918)

Palin is a dumb bitch who should be slapped.

The Koch brothers are evil dicks who should be kicked in the nuts.

See, I'm both a misogynist and a misandrist!

"nearly three-year delay" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400174)

Starvation! Incoming requests prevent processing of prior requests!

FTFA: "The nearly three-year delay has been attributed largely to the sheer volume of the release and the flood of requests."

My thoughts on this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400178)

Bull Shit!!!!

Follow up: Really!!!! Do you really think this is going to keep news agencies from showing up to get a copy. Someone will end up digitize it and it will get distributed widely. They are purposefully making it harder to search the emails by doing it this way. Plus, its just easier to loose a piece of paper with what Palin don't want out and say, "Whoops", than it is to say that something was mistakenly left out of the digital copy.

Paper was their second choice (1)

Schlopper (413780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400210)

It seems that a shortage in stone tablets and required etchers resulted in them having to painstakingly print out all the emails.

Re:Paper was their second choice (1)

syntheticmemory (1232092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400418)

Nah, they had to wait until spring for the clay to thaw.

Alaskan Trees thank you (1)

samsonov (581161) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400262)

Wow, what a waste of paper!! Seriously, printing out the emails? How about just putting them on line? impractical for whom?

Re:Alaskan Trees thank you (0)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400380)

impractical for whom?

It's impractical for the people who are obviously trying to drown people in a huge stack of paper so that these emails are much harder to sift through.

Sharpest tool? (5, Funny)

dccase (56453) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400272)

Maybe she actually IS the sharpest tool in that drawer.

Re:Sharpest tool? (1)

rjmx (233228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400356)

Maybe she actually IS the sharpest tool in that drawer.

Sigh. Where are mod points when you need them?

Re:Sharpest tool? (1)

syntheticmemory (1232092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400438)

That being a sap?

The state claims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400278)

Are you kidding me? The state claims it impractical to release the original electronic versions of the e-mails.
Who in the state said that? Better yet, why does the public put up with this bullshit?

So basically a group of text files which are already in the smallest format possible minus compression, have to be printed, can't be mailed, and of course the ShitStream Media will be first to start milking this non-story for the next 2+ years, all while conveniently ignoring the fact that this Bitch can't be trusted with national security directives. e.g. don't use public email for official use

I would be looking deep into Alaska's CAFR documents about now. It's about time the state, the shitstream media and the officials get fucked.

How do we handle government lies like this? (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400284)

I think just about EVERY person on Slashdot will disagree with the idea that print is easier than electronic. This is simply a lie from the state government. Which citizen's group do I send money to for the purpose of pushing legislation that requires the government is honest to the people. Lies like this should be actionable.

impractical to release electronic versions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400288)

"The state claims it impractical to release the original electronic versions of the e-mails"

What they should do is, print them out, then scan them back in as images, then save as PDFs under randomly generated file names, similar to what Microsoft did in the Comes v. Microsoft [edge-op.org] antitrust case.

They should do both (1)

Random2 (1412773) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400294)

Print and electronic release. A print copy would be a nice verification that the electronic version hasn't been altered after release; but only allowing the print is far too cumbersome.

It does have merit to do this, but only in conjunction with an electronic copy.

Ted Stevens (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400300)

The great senator from Alaska said it best: "The internet isn't just a truck you can dump stuff on, it's a series of tubes..."

Obviously, dumping Palin's email into the internets would cause them all to clog up, taking weeks for people to download their internets.

Actually overheard once at Best Buy: "Does this computer come with the latest version of the internet?"

Redacted? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400304)

I realize it is just a state government but there can still be sensitive information that needs to be redacted. Electronically doing this is not an option.

Although redacting the 25000 pages and then converting back to pdf would be reasonable.

But I also don't think requiring the data to be picked up in person, with a valid picture ID, is that out of the ordinary. As a citizen (i.e. not a journalist), that's the way you would have to get many documents.

Re:Redacted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400594)

I realize it is just a state government but there can still be sensitive information that needs to be redacted. Electronically doing this is not an option.

Not true. Redaction is still needed regular cases (eg privileged information) and it's supported in pretty much every eDiscovery tool.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_discovery#Reporting_formats

Though it's not as straightforward as copying some files, it's still easier than printing everything. At the least, you could burn the redacted images to DVD(s).

I see their point - It *IS* impractical (1)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400308)

to hide things in a machine searchable file.

#TakenOutOfContext (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400318)

...get those #TakenOutOfContext hashtags ready!

This halfway makes sense (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400326)

While the "impracticality" of putting it online is a bald-faced lie, I can see why they don't want to. If Cardinal Richelieu can find a reason to hang a (wo)man is three sentences the mainstream media will have no problem finding lots of political hay in 24,000 emails. Especially with someone as controversial and, ah, differently spoken as Mrs. Palin.

Is it ethical? You could make an argument that only Alaskans should really be concerned with how Governor Palin acted in an official capacity. She's a public figure, but unless she actually runs for president I'd say that these emails serve more as a distraction than as newsworthy.

You don't understand that Richelieu quote (5, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400738)

You don't understand that Richelieu quote, grasshopper.

Ya see, what Richelieu was saying there was basically just flaunting his abuse of power. That's it. It has nothing to do with the usual idiotic interpretations like too many laws, or everyone is guilty of something, or anything.

What Richelieu actually did was employ forgers to write whole contracts with the devil in the handwriting of his opponents. Then have them waterboarded until they confess, and then execute them.

You think I'm kidding? Check out for example Urbain Grandier [wikipedia.org] for a documented case of such a victim of Richelieu.

THAT is what he needed six lines in the handwriting of someone for: as a writing sample for the forgers Richelieu employed.

And while in that quote he's clever enough to not directly say that, it's a very thinly veiled reminder of why it's not wise to cross him. If you can write and ever wrote anything, he can "find" something else in your handwriting to hang you for, even though you don't remember ever writing that.

I hardly think that Palin's emails are in any similar danger. And releasing them as paper is hardly a solution. If they're worried about forgeries in her name, then the sane way would be to release them as a file with a public secure hash value. That way if anyone says they found a damning email in there, you can see if their file actually matches the hash value. If it doesn't, it's been tampered with, and you can ignore the accusation.

Nice Information (-1)

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Where's WikiLeaks North? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400362)

Like most of us, wikileaks just doesn't consider her to be relevant [gawker.com] .. Besides, the ticket fare is tied up in lawyer fees...

Who made the decision? (1)

skrimp (790524) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400390)

I'm tired of these anonymous decision makers and their ridiculous decisions. Find out their name. Post their name. Where's the FBI?

They're all saved in her Yahoo account (1)

Sectoid_Dev (232963) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400394)

Maybe the Alaskan state government should ask Yahoo to export the emails for them. I bet that's where the bulk of them are stored, in a personal account.

If you're not much of a nature person... (2)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400396)

then Alaska's primary tourism draw wont work for you, but be glad, now they have a great reason to go to Alaska, Sarah Palin's e-mails.

Obligatory HHGTTG (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400408)

It's probably also being stored in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

Who wants to fly to Alaska to file a lawsuit (5, Informative)

stating_the_obvious (1340413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400436)

from the statutes and regulations related to FOIA requests of the Great State of Alaska:

Sec. 40.25.115. Electronic services and products.

(a) Notwithstanding AS 40.25.110 (b) - (d) to the contrary, upon request and payment of a fee established under (b) of this section, a public agency may provide electronic services and products involving public records to members of the public. A public agency is encouraged to make information available in usable electronic formats to the greatest extent feasible . The activities authorized under this section may not take priority over the primary responsibilities of a public agency.

I would guess that you could credibly argue that the authorities overseeing the FOIA request did not make into available in electronic form to the greatest extent possible (e.g., provided on CD-ROM).

rsync -var --partial (1)

buglista (1967502) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400460)

will eventually get you everthing, even if you're on damn dial-up. I used to keep a debian box up to date on UNSTABLE with a 33k modem.

What they're basically saying is, we think there's something to hide. Go go gadget OCR!

Palin is a Genius to her Fans (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400464)

What Palin does and says (and writes) may seem completely stupid to most people, but to her followers she is a genius. She could very well be the next president of the United States. It's a good thing for her that Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't born in America.

Re:Palin is a Genius to her Fans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400696)

What Palin does and says (and writes) may seem completely stupid to most people, but to her followers she is a genius.

Well of course - it's easy to seem like a genius in a movement full of complete RETARDS. Most of her followers are intellectually overmatched by their household pets...

Re:Palin is a Genius to her Fans (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400782)

She could very well be the next president of the United States.

As if the US doesn't already have enough problems. What we need is an even more idiotic person running the show than the last couple of idiots.

Anyone in alaska hear of cutepdf??? (1)

voss (52565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400470)

Its free, it does not require the emails to be any particular format because its installed as a virtual printer.

Hilarious (2)

orn (34773) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400612)

That's like a Saturday Night Live sketch. Or maybe something Woody Allen or Mel Brooks would come up with.

The REAL Reason (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400638)

Palin's email dirtied the systems up so bad with viruses and trojans, that they had to print them out for record keeping but deleted the entire account. She reminds me of the kind of user that says "I only ever get emails with paper clips from friends, why wouldn't I trust them?"

Poor Alaska Governor's office IT department wasted 2 years just to clean up the mail server.

you're FIRED! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400712)

take your pick:
- incompetence
or
- malfeasance


"Oh yeah? Well I'm not fired, I QUIT!"


BTW /., what do <ul>/</ul>, <li>/</li> and &nbsp; supposed to do?!!! Goddamn you're a bunch of idiots.

Common legal trick (4, Funny)

caseih (160668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400748)

In a recent lawsuit my organization was involved in, the plaintiffs demanded any and all emails from certain individuals related to the case. So our lawyers had us send them all the e-mails in raw electronic form, which they then simply printed out for the plaintiffs. And of course the plaintiffs did the same thing for our side. Kind of a dirty way of complying with the court order if you think about it. I'm sure that neither side printed off the complete e-mail headers, so we're left with just the visible from, to, subject, and date fields, and the message body.

Anyway, when you're on the receiving end of a demand, printing out the e-mails is definitely a common thing in the legal world. So I'm not surprised Alaska would do this. Plus it fits with Palin's policies and platforms. I mean we have all these resources in alaska going to waste, so all these printouts means trees are being put to good use, and the ink used will put all that oil to use as well. Drill baby drill.

Beware of the Leopard (0)

Marrow (195242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400754)

Is it stored in a locked file cabinet in the basement in an unused lavatory with a sign on the front "Beware of the Leopard"?

- Hitchhikers Guide

Not that unreasonable (3, Insightful)

kgwilliam (998911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400756)

The slashdot crowd of course is going to lambast this decision. But if you take time to think about it rather than reply with a knee-jerk reaction, it really isn't that unreasonable.

What is required to host thousands of emails online?
  - A web server. Presumably they have one of these, but is it just a simple website at some hosting company and not very easy to configure or mass-upload to, and perhaps with a limited storage quota? Is it their same server they had in the late 90's that might choke on 24,000 files in one directory?
  - How do you convert the emails to individual files which can be hosted? Convert to PDF perhaps? File -> Save As? Either way, it is going to be very labor intensive. Perhaps the email system is old enough that it is even more difficult and time consuming?
  - How long do you have to store the online files? Every day they store the files on the server costs them extra $. And every person who downloads the files costs them extra $.
  - What type of technical knowledge is required to put all of the pieces together? To a slashdotter it might seem trivial, but a town of 30,000 reachable only by water and air is not the type of place who will employ public servants with the technical expertise of a slashdotter. Their IT staff might consist of a guy who knows how to replace a monitor and reformat Windows XP. They may outsource all of the rest of their IT functions at an hourly cost to the state. All of these email requests are probably going to some poor secretary who has a hard time opening her own email.
  - Who should have access? IANAL, but this is a foia request so I presume anybody in America, but is Alaska required to make government documents readily available to the governments of North Korea and Iran? If not, who is going to setup the security to prevent unauthorized access?

Remember, this is a foia request which Alaska has to respond to, but they have no incentive to make it easy at their own taxpayer's expense. It is far cheaper and easier for a small town government office to tell people to come and get the information than it is for them to make it easily accessible over the internet.

They're right (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400774)

Everyones spouting off how easy it would be... You're not thinking it through. You can either "select all > Print" or... Export them all... ok... and put them where? Ok, we need a website, we'll need to get bids, we're the government after all. How much traffic should we estimate? Lets see, the private emails from one of the most divisive politicians in the country... and news agencies are likely to link directly to the source... Or we could just print them out and let the news agencies host them... It's really a no-brainer.

Re:They're right (1)

Tsunayoshi (789351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400930)

These are not private emails, these are the emails from her official account from when she was Governor...if she was stupid enough to conduct personal correspondence using that account, well sucks to be her...

That's just cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400794)

Why don't they turn the emails into the ASCII representation of the font used? That would be the ultimate sabotage by a state.

BTW: I love these gotchas, often they are the punchline.

cb

OCR time! (1)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400904)

This sounds like a job for Project Gutenberg, since this stuff is public domain. http://gutenberg.org/ [gutenberg.org]

This level of incompetence... (0)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400906)

This level of incompetence goes far to explaining how someone like Sarah Palin could get a governership in the first place.

Classic Hassle Maneuver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36400922)

This is a classic maneuver taken right from the law enforcement playbook. In a bunch of places the courthouse would post on their website the arraignments and charges that they processed that day and who the person was because being charged with a crime is public information. The police and DEA shit their pants over this because it made it easy for cartels and large distribution rings to keep tabs on people in their network that got pinched which gives them a heads up if an investigation may be coming or if they need to clear out. Now they have changed it to where you have to actually go down to the courthouse to get this information in-person.

Duh (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400944)

Do you have any idea how long it would take to print those emails out, scan them in and embed the scan into a Word document for online distribution? After all, that's the standard way of distributing data from people in the public sector isn't it?
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