Atlanta officials deny requests for records amid cyber attack - CBS46 News


Atlanta officials deny requests for records amid cyber attack

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

It has been more than two months since the City of Atlanta was crippled by a massive cyber attack. While some city services have recovered, other departments have not. The city continues to pay millions of dollars to outside contractors to help with the response.

When the CBS46 Bulldog went digging for answers, the city refused to hand over critical information about the attack. 

The list of questions for city officials is long.

  • How long will the cyber attack last?
  • What exactly has been lost?
  • What attempts have been made to resolve it?
  • How much money have taxpayers spent on the response?
  • How have departments and leaders responded in private?

The city hasn't provided answers for any of those questions, and there is no sense of when anyone will get those answers. That's because Freedom of Information Act requests related to the cyber attack are being denied.

A spokesman for the city told CBS46 in a statement:

Due to ongoing security concerns, and still-active investigations, and on the recommendation of our counsel, security vendors, and federal partners, we cannot provide any responsive documents at this time.

The Freedom of Information Act does allow for exemptions during open investigations, but with such a blanket denial, the city has taken it upon itself to potentially exploit those exemptions at its discretion. 

Richard Griffiths, an expert on the First Amendment, says:

There are going to be some things always that have to be private and in process, but the results should always come out, should always be made public."

In the meantime, the city's 8,000 employees and thousands of residents don't really know a thing about the attack, and they may not for a while. 

Finally, getting public information not related to the attack has been equally difficult, as several city officials have attributed their delay in responding to a lack of access to vital electronic records that are currently still being held hostage in the cyber attack. 

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