As part of its unanimous decision in McBurney v. Young (.pdf), the Court said the state's freedom of information laws were designed to help Virginia citizens monitor the performance their state's government agencies.
The Navy Department will utilize FOIAonline, a shared portal for the processing of Freedom of Information Act requests, the department's office of the chief information officer announced April 18.
Federal agencies should treat the identities of Freedom of Information Act requesters with the same privacy protections as librarians extend to patrons, argues an City University of New York law school academic.
One commitment that did not make the cut was ExpertNet, a proposed online community where volunteer experts could give consultations. A single government-wide software platform would face implementation challenges, the report said. Soliciting expert citizen opinions, outside the process of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, is also a culture-change and business process challenge, the report says.
The Department of Justice is using metadata in its effort to improve public access to government documents through the Freedom of Information Act. Using metadata to tag information will allow citizens to easily look up FOIA documents with a simple keyword search, either directly through a government site such as FOIA.gov , or through an Internet browser, a DOJ statement reported.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed bills March 20 that would allow the Government Accountability Office to access federal agency information and make popular Freedom of Information Act requests more available.
In 2012, agencies processed more than half a million FOIA requests, but they only released information with no redactions in 41 percent of requests, according to the report, released March 13. It drew on data from 25 major federal agencies, including most cabinet-level departments.
Freedom of Information Act fees and fee waivers are a persistent problem for agency FOIA offices and for requesters, according to Miriam Nisbet, director of the Office of Government Information Services at the National Archives and Records Administration. Immigration records will be another area of attention for OGIS going forward, said Nisbet.
"One looks like a democracy and the other is national security state, where claims of national security usually trump openness and accountability," Angela Canterbury, director of public policy for the Project on Government Oversight, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform March 13.
Obama administration criticism of the open government watchdog community overlooks the gap between good policy and implementation, said Nate Jones while speaking earlier this month on a Freedom of Information Act panel at American University.