The Justice Department launched a new pilot program to be tested at seven agencies that would open up Freedom of Information Act responses to everyone, not just the requester.
With the launch of the openFOIA website last month, the National Archives and Records Administration has laid out what information requesters and Freedom of Information Act office workers can get from the three main FOIA-related federal websites.
Since a Freedom of Information Act request can take months for an agency to fill, the Justice Department is updating guidance that helps agencies determine if requesters are still interested in getting the information, according to a July 2 DOJ notice.
Agencies have come under fire for not being proactive about handing over documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act. So as part of FOIA modernization efforts, the National Archives and Records Administration is reaching out to the public to find out what they see as faults in the process.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz chastised agency officials over what he sees as a lack of openness when processing Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests in a June 3 hearing.
Officials at several agencies told a Senate panel that Freedom of Information Act requests have become unmanageable because of a dramatic increase in the number of requests over the last few years.
The number of Freedom of Information Act requests that weren't fulfilled by federal agencies spiked by 70 percent in fiscal 2014 compared to the previous year. That's more than double the increase the government saw between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013, says the Justice Department's annual FOIA report.
A new report from an open government advocacy group shows that agency responses to the same, basic Freedom of Information Act requests varied widely. About 65 business days after FOIA requests were sent to 21 agencies asking them to detail their FOIA processing practices, only seven have furnished complete and usable records in response.
The House Oversight Committee Wednesday approved a bill that would require agencies presume information requested by the public be open unless proven otherwise. The measure, which was passed out of committee by voice vote would make it easier for the public to request and receive government information, lawmakers say.
The Rosemary Award, established in 2005 by the National Security Archive – a Washington, D.C.-based independent watchdog group located at George Washington University – is intended to "highlight the lowlights of government secrecy."