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Making FOIA Work Needs More than a DATA Act Model

A recent article in Federal Computer Week started off with the questions, "Could FOIA Work on a DATA Act Model?" The short answer to that question is no. The more complete version of the answer is no, but it would help the FOIA system work better for the public. Turning FOIA into a law that actually provides timely access to records the public wants to help it better understand what the government is doing and why, however, requires other reforms.

Groups Urge President Obama to Commit to Legislative FOIA Reforms

On October 23, fifty organizations joined an effort headed by Citizens for Responsibility in Ethics in Washington (CREW) to ask the President to publicly go on record in support of legislative reforms to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As the letter points out, these reforms -- all of which are included in the bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act currently pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee -- are critical for achieving the unprecedented levels of openness promised by the President on his first day in office.

EPIC Files FOIA Lawsuit on CIA Surveillance of Congress

n response to reports the CIA infiltrated computers used by Senate staff to investigate the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a FOIA request for the CIA Inspector General’s report on the infiltration. After receiving no response, EPIC sued for the report to be released.

RSVP for "OGIS at Five" on October 31

On October 31st, OpenTheGovernment.org, the Newseum Institute, and the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) will host a half-day event examining OGIS’s successes and challenges in its first five years of operation. OGIS is tasked with mediating FOIA disputes and monitoring agency compliance with the law.

Partners Fight for Information Under FOIA

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is seeking information under FOIA on several fronts. EPIC filed a new case regarding the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s 2012 e-voting security report.

International Right to Know Day: How Well Do You Know the US Freedom of Information Act

In advance of International Right to Know Day (September 28), we thought it would be fun to put together a quick quiz to see how much you know about the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and why it's time to pass the FOIA Improvement Act. If the embedded quiz does not launch in your browser, please take the quiz here: https://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=ODA2ODUzCL00

5 Assumptions You Might Make about the FOIA Improvement Act

Earlier this summer longtime champions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 2520, the FOIA Improvement Act. The bill builds on several reforms that were included in a bill passed unanimously by the House (HR 1211) and, crucially, puts limits around the use of one of the most overused and abused exemptions in the law. The fact that more than 50 organizations from across the political spectrum and with a wide variety of missions joined in supporting the bill shortly after its release is a tribute to how important it is for the Senate to pass S. 2520. It’s important to understand, though, exactly what the bill will and will not do. Below we take you through some assumptions that you might make about the possible effect of passing the bill.

DC Circuit Court Ruling Good News for Fight against Secret Law

Last week the DC Circuit Court issued a ruling vacating a previous ruling from a lower court that a Presidential Directive in the possession of a federal agency is not an agency record subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

OTG Responds to Cybersecurity Bill in the Washington Post

On July 20th, the Washington Post published Executive Director Patrice McDermott’s letter to the editor, responding to a July 13th Post

Groups Break Down how the FOIA Improvement Act Reins in the Use of Exemption 5

Exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act has been used to withhold a Presidential Policy Directive instituting transparency, Federal Election Commission guidance on the use of the exemption, a list of unclassified opinions created by the Office of Legal Counsel, and much more. Agencies’ use of Exemption 5 has cut off access to countless records that should be released in the public interest. The bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act, S.

The Classified Section

Check out our new blog, The Classified Section, for analysis of national security secrecy.

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