A little over a month ago, 18F—the digital services shop at the General Services Administration that’s modeled after tech-sector start-ups—released openFOIA. This website gives requesters a central location to learn how to make Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to any of the 100 federal departments and agencies that process public requests for records.
The release of openFOIA helps meet one of the commitments to “Modernize the FOIA” included in the second U.S. Open Government National Action Plan. As we let our blog readers know recently, these commitments are a part of a much larger international effort to make governments more open and accountable. 18F developed openFOIA in consultation with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and made its work available to the public via GitHub.
OpenFOIA has some things in common with existing government websites that are intended to help FOIA requesters. In particular, it can be easy to confuse the new site with FOIA.gov, a DOJ-operated site and FOIAonline, an online portal requesters can use to make and track requests at 11 departments and agencies.
To help clear up any confusion between the sites, here’s a chart with some of their key features and uses:
Do you have any suggestions for how we can make it easier for the public to understand and use FOIA? Let us know in the comments!