The Department of Defense sent Muckrock a demand for $660 million as a requirement for fulfilling a Freedom of Information Act request for records about the Hotplug, a gadget that allows you to transport computers without shutting them down — used by law enforcement to move suspect computers to forensic facilities without shutting them down and potentially parking drives in an encrypted state.
According to the DoD's estimate, it will take 15 million hours to review every document related to its use of Hotplugs.
As Tim Cushing points out, this tells us two things:
1. Holy shit, the DoD uses the Hotplug a lot; and
2. The DoD's Electronic Document Access system sucks, and is hugely labor intensive to use, and was not designed to make it easy to fulfill Freedom of Information requests.
Mr. Robert R. Jarrett, Director of Operations, Defense Procurement Acquisition Policy, and a FOIA Initial Denial Authority, stated that it is possible that contracts that acquired the requested items are present in the Electronic Documents Access (EDA) system; however, there are more than 30 million contracts in EDA, consisting of more than 45 million documents. No method exists for a complete text search of EDA, as some documents are scans of paper copies. The estimated time required to perform the necessary redactions of proprietary data, assuming 20 minutes per document, is estimated to be 15 million labor hours at an estimated cost of $660 million.