October 1, 2012 1 Comment
Journalists who regularly use the federal FOIA will complain bitterly about lost requests, long delays and agency responses that give no indication whether and when the agency will actually turn over documents. But a new system that went live October 1 promises to make it easier on agencies and requesters alike to keep track of requests and make the FOIA process more efficient.
The new system, called FOIA Online, allows anyone to search pending FOIA requests and documents already released as the result of previous FOIA requests, submit a new FOIA request to an agency, track requests, see the status of any request and receive agency correspondence and documents all within the new system. And for FOIA geeks like us, it provides anyone the ability to search the tracking data, identify trends and keep tabs on how well (or poorly) any agency is fulfilling its obligations under FOIA. We also hope it’s a useful tool for government folks responsible for keeping the FOIA responses flowing to find and fix the bottlenecks that slow FOIA responses.