Tag Archives: FOIA

Justices say states can limit access to public records

“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said states are free to allow public records access only to their own citizens, delivering a blow to freedom of information advocates who had challenged a Virginia law. In a unanimous ruling, the court said two out-of-state men did not have a right to view the documents. Various other states, including Tennessee, Arkansas and Delaware, have similar laws, although some do not enforce them.” (via Reuters)

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EPIC Thanks Congress for FOIA Oversight, Calls for Renewed Attention to Transparency

“EPIC, along with more than 40 transparency organizations, thanked the House Committee on Oversight for sending a letter to the Department of Justice about the importance of the Freedom of Information Act. The open government organizations said “outdated FOIA regulations, excessive fee assessments, growing FOIA backlogs, and the misuse of exemptions are issues that continually frustrate FOIA requesters” and expressed hope that the Committee would share the Department of Justice’s responses with the public.”

via EPIC

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National Archives Joins Federal Agencies to Launch New Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Online System

“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the Department of Commerce (DOC), have partnered to develop an online system aimed at expanding public access to information requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIAonline, formerly known as the FOIA Module, is available as of today (October 1). It offers the public one place to submit FOIA requests, track their progress, communicate with the processing agency, search other requests, access previously released responsive documents and file appeals with participating agencies.”

via National Archives

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Study: Oldest FOIA request dates back 20 years

AP – “Federal agencies are still taking too long to open records to the public, with the oldest requests at eight agencies now dating back over a decade, a new study finds. A report by the National Security Archive found continued backlogs and little progress more than two years after President Barack Obama ordered the government to respond more quickly to public requests for records. The findings were released on Monday, which is the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.”

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Senate passes John Cornyn’s bill to improve public access to government documents

Houston Chronicle – “Legislation by transparency-in-government champion John Cornyn to reduce processing delays in Freedom of Information Act requests passed unanimously in the Senate on Thursday. The Faster FOIA Act, which was reintroduced in March during Sunshine Week, would create a commission that would study how to reduce the delays, and it would “bring our government one step closer to better transparency,” said Cornyn, a Republican senator from San Antonio. The legislation will now go to the House for consideration. Cornyn said it would be a benefit to the American people “who deserve to be treated as valued customers when they seek answers from their government.”

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Documents in FOIA Requests Must Be ‘Searchable,’ Federal Judge Rules

Law Technology News – “The federal government must provide documents “in a usable format” when it responds to Freedom of Information Act requests, a federal judge in Manhattan has ruled. Southern District of New York Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, after faulting the government for offering “a lame excuse” for delivering non-searchable documents, ruled for the first time that federal agencies must turn over documents that include “metadata,” which allows them to be searched and indexed.”

Read the opinion

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FOIA dispute mediator opens doors

Federal Computer Week – “A new government office designed to help resolve disputes that involve the roughly 600,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that agencies get each year is considering how to use information technology to help it serve as a governmentwide “FOIA Ombudsman.”(via)

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FOIA Wrapup

from the FOIA Blog.

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Senators, AP seek more public info, fewer secrets

AP – “Too many agencies are still holding their secrets close nine months after President Barack Obama ordered the federal government to open the flow of information to the public, advocates of access said Wednesday.”

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Issues for the 111th Congress

A CRS report

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