Demystifying Declassification

When a requester wants access to records that are classified, he or she can choose to ask an agency to undergo Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) of those documents rather than filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. MDR requests allow the agency to give records a fresh look to see whether they might be … Continue reading Demystifying Declassification

Gather ’Round

Interested in contractor and other business-related records in the FOIA context? OGIS and the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy are gearing up to host the next FOIA Requester Roundtable from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday Oct. 19, 2011. The roundtable will be at OIP, 1425 New York Ave. NW, Suite 11050, Washington DC, … Continue reading Gather ’Round

The Intersection of FOIA Street and Privacy Act Lane

Both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act contain provisions that grant a right of access to Federal records. FOIA applies to records of executive branch agencies on potentially any subject. The Privacy Act applies only to agencies’ records which contain information about individuals that are maintained in a “system of records,” meaning those … Continue reading The Intersection of FOIA Street and Privacy Act Lane

Paying the FOIA bills

FOIA isn’t free, we all know that. The Federal government’s estimated spending on FOIA in 2010 was approximately $416 million. Usually, an agency will process its own FOIA requests by searching for, retrieving and reviewing records. But when an agency has to ask a contractor or even another agency to assist with a request, and … Continue reading Paying the FOIA bills

Hold the alphabet soup, please.

Government-speak -- with its acronyms, abbreviations and general jargon -- can make anyone’s head spin. Can the DoD IDA get trained on FOIA with CBT? Will the EPA FPL share an MOU with OGIS?  OMG, it’s ridiculous enough to make you LOL (or SMH)! Some of us in the Federal world get a little entrenched … Continue reading Hold the alphabet soup, please.

Freedom of Information Contributes to a Free Press

As difficult as it sometimes can be to navigate our Freedom of Information Act in the U.S., the Act contributes to press freedom– a freedom that only one in six of the world’s inhabitants has, according to statistics released this week during  World Press Freedom Day. Free expression advocates from around the world gathered in … Continue reading Freedom of Information Contributes to a Free Press