Second U.S. Open Government National Action Plan Highlights FOIA

The United States released its second Open Government National Action Plan on December 5, announcing 23 new initiatives to further transparency and encourage a more efficient and effective government. One initiative, Modernizing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), lists five specific commitments the government plans to undertake over the next two years. The National Action … Continue reading Second U.S. Open Government National Action Plan Highlights FOIA

Surging ahead into the electronic world

As we move toward a more digitized society, we’re continually looking to build upon electronic access and management of government records. FOIA requesters and agency FOIA professionals came together this week to discuss issues they face working with electronic records. Records management was a key point of discussion — electronic records can be incredibly time-saving, … Continue reading Surging ahead into the electronic world

White House Assesses FOIA Commitments

  In its March 29 self-assessment of the National Action Plan, the White House evaluated its progress on the two FOIA-related components of that plan: professionalizing FOIA administration and harnessing the power of technology. During Sunshine Week 2012, the Office of Personnel Management announced the creation of the Government Information Series. This specialized field within … Continue reading White House Assesses FOIA Commitments

Requesting Records Across Agencies

With 100 departments and agencies, the Executive Branch can feel downright massive sometimes. Although each of the 100 has a separate and distinct mission, and no doubt creates very different kinds of records, there is also some overlap in the way agencies operate and with the records they keep. Since its start, OGIS has been … Continue reading Requesting Records Across Agencies

Civil War-era Pension Records: An OGIS Case Study

When University of California–Los Angeles economics professor Dora Costa started looking at aging processes and extreme longevity, she knew military files of Civil War veterans would be crucial to her research. Costa planned to compare medical records and life histories of Civil War veterans with present-day veterans’ records for soldiers who lived to be at … Continue reading Civil War-era Pension Records: An OGIS Case Study

Reconciling FOIA and the Privacy Act

When you request records about yourself from the Federal government, agencies apply both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act) to grant the most access possible. FOIA and the Privacy Act have different purposes. FOIA provides the public with a right of access to government records while the … Continue reading Reconciling FOIA and the Privacy Act

Upcoming Requester Roundtable Discussion: The Privacy Act and FOIA

Both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act  contain provisions that grant a right of access to Federal records. Hear from government experts in both fields about The Intersection of the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act at the next FOIA Requester Roundtable on October 24, 2012. OGIS, along with the … Continue reading Upcoming Requester Roundtable Discussion: The Privacy Act and FOIA

Checking it Twice: Appeals Provide Necessary Second Look

The FOIA process, as with much in life, provides an opportunity to give our actions a second look. After all, most of us don’t file a major report without asking someone to proofread for errors, right? Or walk out the door without one last check in the mirror? FOIA directs that requesters can appeal “any … Continue reading Checking it Twice: Appeals Provide Necessary Second Look

Government-wide Records Directive Addresses Electronic Records

By the end of the decade, Federal agencies must digitize management of electronic records—including the millions of emails sent and received each year—according to a new records directive introduced last week. With a focus on a digital transition, the Managing Government Records Directive issued jointly by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the … Continue reading Government-wide Records Directive Addresses Electronic Records

More on Declassification

Documents declassified by the government’s highest classification authority will soon be posted online in a new government declassification portal, a Federal declassification expert said at a July 25, 2012 FOIA Requester Roundtable. William C. Carpenter of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) at the National Archives provided tips on a variety of declassification issues and … Continue reading More on Declassification