At least, the stuff they've found so far that hasn't been turned over to the feds. And as PDF copies of print copies, instead of raw text files, of course.
If you find anything interesting, post here.
Via Blue Mass. Group.
so these emails were printed and scanned for what reason? Other than to make searching difficult, what purpose does this serve? Where do the Menino apologists stand on this?
I'm not a lawyer but seems entirely consistent with legal evidence. Aren't these the guys that have their own paper size, word processors? Tradition is important to some.
I started from the bottom up.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 5:00 PM
Stephanie Ebbert at the Boston Globe sends document regarding FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) to two people at City Hall, who pass it on to others, including Michael Kineavy.
Michael Kineavy then (presumably, since his email box was empty) DELETES the email. And then, deletes it from his deleted box.
The irony is not lost on me.
First - ditto to anon-a-mouse's observation - it's very strange that we're being presented with a slew of printouts which were subsequently scanned. That's a lot of redundant work to deliver a less useful result. At best, this indicates some serious lack-of-clue on the part of the "technical" staff overseeing this effort. At worst, it smacks of purposeful delay and obfuscation.
And speaking of obfuscation, another thing I noticed as soon as I looked at these msgs - none include the ID headers that would allow us to determine which msgs were initiated by this user and which are replies or parts of larger msg threads. This is very important info as it could show if there are any missing msgs, and would also indicate on what machines more of the missing msgs might be located. It's true that regular users often choose not to have their email apps display the more technical headers, but they're still there in any email archive files. If these are straight dumps of such files, we should be seeing those headers.
On top of that, the headers we do have are ordered and formatted differently from msg to msg. I can't imagine why this would be the case if the msgs all came from the same email application archive on a single machine.
I thought this was a fairly minor story when it first appeared, likely just election season tactics. But as time goes on and the story out of City Hall becomes more convoluted and unsatisfying, I find myself starting to consider the possibility that there's may actually be something nasty buried under this brush pile.
(And yes, although I don't play one on TV, I am a comp/net nerd. More specifically, during the course of my professional career I have been both intimately involved in setting up and administering corporate email systems and have also had occasion to do recovery and forensic work on trashed/damaged digital archives.)
many email applications will show the raw message when showing headers. Since there's no standard on the order of headers, different people sending him messages would result in headers in differing orders. There's no reason for software to sort the headers any particular way.
They're culls from other City Hall employees' computers which reference Mr. Kineavy. That provides reasonable explanations for several of my concerns. They probably asked everyone at City Hall to do a search for 'Kineavy' on their email achives, print out the results and give them to the personal compiling this record. We'd expect different formatting from so many different users, and the whole digital-hardcopy-scan-redigitization mishigas makes more sense (it's not a good methodology, but it's understandably expedient).
I'm still very disappointed that full headers were not included. As I mentioned above, this would potentially allow us to see if there were gaps in the msg threads and which accounts outside of Menino's government were included in these communications. Hopefully, whoever the AG has on this is savvy enough to request and use that additional info.
There are numerous missing attachments with these emails. They're part of the public record as well.
There are also numerous duplicates and it's virtually impossible to separate the emails, ie which are forwards, which are individual messages.
This administration is in the dark ages. We have no 311, Citistat, Resistat - not even voicemail. The money this crew is blowing is amazing. They think it's still 1993. That's why we need Term Limits for Boston mayors.
Please provide, in plain ASCII format, stegosaurus, etc.
(I just wanted to beat him to it.)
I have a crawler that can index PDFs, but these aren't text PDFs, they're images, so I can't make them searchable by keywords. Google's crawler is more advanced than the one I'm using, so maybe they'll be able to index it if they ever find it.
I agree it's either gross incompetence or a bald attempt at hiding something serious. Both are really bad.
I have been critical of the mayor over this issue but some of you guys are being way too unfair.
PDF is one of the universal standards of documents. It is preferred by many over things like Word because the reader is free and works on many machines. What file would you suggest other then PDF?
As for the printing and scanning, the FOIA would require them to print anyway and since they had the prints lying around they scanned them into their computer and then posted them on the website. Prepping other file types would take much more time to prepare both in terms of actually producing the file and in formating it to make it readable. A printed PDF taken from a file leaves less room for tampering then taking a file and copying and pasting it over.
The request did not require them to post it on a website. If there is something hiding in there I would think releasing it to tens of thousands/hundreds of thousands/millions of people would do more damage then giving it in raw form to a few people. Now they have thousands of eyes looking it over for any problems.
Of course their is the question, are these all the emails? That is a different issue, one that I will not defend them on as I believe there most likely are missing emails.
that can directly convert emails into searchable pdfs. They surely have the capability to print to pdf. They did not do so because that would allow us to easily search through them for the fun stuff to read.
Last I checked, it works off of MS Word. MSWord directly convets to .pdf as text.
Funny, one of the few emails they were able to find was a February 6th email pointing out an article in the Boston Herald about ethics charges filed against Michael Flaherty.
The Honorable Michael F. Flaherty as City Councilor and as former Council President failed to make available the public records of the governing Council. How hypocritical can it be to talk transparency and not put it into action.
I am not a Flaherty partisan - I am a citizen of Boston. Given that we have a strong mayor/weak council form of city government, I'm much more concerned about transparency from the mayor's staff and the city civil service. Let Flaherty and the other candidates grind this axe, if such it is. Then if they get into office, they'll have even less excuse if they fail to open up city government to public oversight.