Ryan Shapiro

See Ryan’s talk: “FOIA & Fascism: Information Activism in the Age of Trump and Beyond” at this year’s online event November 13th.

Ryan Shapiro of Property of the People











Ryan is widely known as a leading expert on the Freedom of Information Act and is Executive Director of the transparency non-profit Property of the PeoplePolitico describes Ryan as “a FOIA guru.” MuckRock describes Ryan as “a FOIA superhero.” The FBI argued in federal court that Ryan’s MIT dissertation FOIA research methodologies are themselves a threat to national security.

Ryan is an historian of national security, the policing of dissent, and government transparency.  In addition to being a longtime activist, Ryan holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a former Research Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Ryan and Property of the People sued the FBI to access Aaron’s FBI files and obtained documents revealing the FBI collected information on Aaron Swartz years earlier than previously known.
Even more disturbingly, this earlier data collection pertained to an FBI international terrorism investigation of Al Qaeda. The documents Ryan and Property of the People obtained further revealed that the FBI’s collection of data about Aaron as part of its international terrorism investigation of Al Qaeda was likely based on a routine, computer-related email email that Aaron sent the University of Pittsburg’s Computer Science Department and Computer Services and Systems Development office (CSSD). (See also the great article on this by Dell Cameron at Gizmodo.)


November 13, 2021 (Online)