Sunshine Week in the Age of Social Distancing

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As the sun sets on Sunshine Week, we hope you will continue to celebrate access to information with some interesting reading. 

First, a reminder that OGIS published its 2020 Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2019 highlighting the work we do as FOIA Ombudsman to make the process work better for all through dispute resolution and agency compliance review.  The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Information Policy (OIP), also published a report listing all FOIA litigation cases filed and decided in 2019 and detailing OIP’s work to encourage FOIA compliance. Earlier this month, OIP announced that all 118 agencies subject to the FOIA have finalized their Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Annual FOIA Reports. OIP has uploaded all of the data from these reports on FOIA.gov

In no particular order here are a few other reports issued this week:  

The Government Accountability Office issued a report, “Freedom of Information Act: Federal Agencies’ Recent Implementation Efforts,” which includes a glimpse into steps OGIS and OIP have taken to help agencies implement the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. 

Cause of Action Institute and Americans for Prosperity collaborated on a report, “Gone in an Instant How Instant Messaging Threatens the Freedom of Information Act.” The report says “the federal government is not keeping pace by preserving records in accordance with federal law and guidance from the National Archives and Records Administration.” 

American Oversight says the increase in FOIA lawsuits isn’t the problem that many think it is; rather, it’s agencies underfunding their transparency obligations.

The Knight Foundation suggests that interests outside of journalism such as civil society and technology are increasingly getting into the game of advocating for access to government information. Read more about these “galaxies:”  “Mapping the Civic Data Universe: Ten Ways to Improve Access to Government Information Through Expanded Interstellar Connections.” 

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