Advisory Committee on Transparency - Educates policymakers on transparency-related issues, problems, and solutions and shares ideas with members of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. It hosts events to discuss important and wide-ranging transparency policy issues with experts from a variety of backgrounds and develops educational publications and provides timely information to the public and members of Congress. The Sunlight Foundation administers and funds the committee.
Alliance for Taxpayer Access - A coalition of patient groups, physicians, researchers, educational institutions, publishers, and health promotion organizations that support barrier-free access to taxpayer-funded research.
CAL-FOIA Archive - Collection of documents and links to Internet sites on First Amendment, public records, open government and similar issues of concern to reporters.
Declassification Engine - The enormous growth in the number of official documents - many of them withheld from scholars and journalists even decades later - has raised serious concerns about whether traditional research methods are adequate for ensuring government accountability. But the millions of documents that have been released, often in digital form, also create opportunities to use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and statistical/machine learning to explore the historical record in very new ways.
First Amendment Coalition - A public benefit nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and defending the people's right to know. Focuses on assisting people having difficulty participating in their government.
First Amendment Project (FAP) - A nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition. For nearly ten years, FAP has provided advice, educational materials, and legal representation to its core constituency of activists, journalists, and artists in service of these fundamental liberties. Also see FAP's FOIA Resource Center.
FOI Directory - A tool for researchers, academics, journalists, and anyone involved or wanting to know more about the Freedom of Information Act in the United Kingdom and beyond.
FOIA and President Gerald Ford (The National Security Archive) - When President Gerald Ford took office on August 9, 1974 in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and President Richard Nixon's resignation, there was great public cynicism toward government, but also great public desire for access to government information. Despite public sentiment, on October 17 President Ford vetoed H.R. 12471, the bill that would significantly strengthen the Freedom of Information Act, calling it 'unconstitutional and unworkable'. In a dramatic rebuke, the House, on November 20, and the Senate, on November 21, overrode the President's veto. The amended FOIA now incorporated judicial review of agency decisions, narrowing of some exemptions, restrictions on fees agencies could charge, and a new 10-day time limit for agencies to comply with a request. The public's use of the FOIA increased dramatically. On this site are documents reflecting the political and legislative struggle over the 1974 amendments to the FOIA.
FOIA Audit - The National Security Archive at George Washington University last year initiated a Freedom of Information Act Audit - borrowing the methodology developed by state and local journalism groups to file simultaneous FOIA requests at multiple agencies and offices, and compile the results in order to identify the best and worst practices. This report summarizes the findings of the first phase of the National Security Archive FOIA Audit.
FOIA Letter Generator - Provides a form designed to help you create a simple FOI letter. Records requests letters can be sent to any federal agency, or almost any component of a state or county government. Brought to you by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project - EFF's FLAG Project aims to expose the government's expanding use of new technologies that invade Americans' privacy. Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the project will help protect individual liberties and hold the government accountable.
FOIAdvocates - Freedom of information requests, acts, litigation, state and local public records laws. FOIAdvocates can assist you in making requests to obtain government records and provide legal assistance in pursuing administrative appeals and related litigation. A project of Bahr & Stotter Law Offices, P.C.
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (UK) - An Act to make provision for the disclosure of information held by public authorities or by persons providing services for them and to amend the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Public Records Act 1958; and for connected purposes. The full provisions of the act came into force on 1 January 2005. Anyone, anywhere in the world, now able to send a written request for information (a letter, fax or email) to an FOI authority. The FOI authority will have to say whether it holds the information, and if it does, provide it. The rights of access will be overridden only by exemptions set out in the Act.
Freedom of Information Act Audit - The National Security Archive has borrowed a methodology developed by state and local journalism groups to file simultaneous FOIA requests at multiple agencies and offices and compile the results in order to identify best and worst practices.
FreedomInfo - Portal that describes best practices, consolidates lessons learned, explains campaign strategies and tactics, and links the efforts of freedom-of-information advocates around the world. It contains information on freedom of information laws, how they were drafted and implemented, and how various provisions have worked in practice.
Glomar Response - Refers to a "neither confirm nor deny" response to Freedom of Information Act requests. There are two instances in which Glomarization has been used. The first is in a national security contexts, where to deny a request on national securities grounds would provide information that the documents or programs which the requester is seeking indeed exists. Glomarization is also used in the case of privacy, in which a response as to whether or not a person is or is not mentioned in law enforcement files may have a stigmatizing connotation.
GPO Access - A service of the U.S. Government Printing Office that provides free electronic access to a wealth of important information products produced by the Federal Government. The information provided on this site is the official, published version.
How to Read an FBI File - This document is divided into two parts. The first covers the actual content of an FBI file -- what's in it, how to make sense of FBI abbreviations, etc. The second deals with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which is likely how the file you're looking at was obtained. That section will help you understand why some bits of text were blanked out, what the odd little codes in the margin mean, and give you some hints on where you can get more information.
Mexico Freedom of Information Program (The National Security Archive) - Supports the freedom of information movement in Mexico, promotes government transparency and accountability and helps publicize the country's national freedom of information law that went into effect in 2002. The Archive works closely with scholars, lawyers, and openness advocates to influence the public debate about the right to know; we bring international transparency activists to train Mexican NGOs on the effective use of FOI laws in advocacy work; and we encourage the news media to monitor government transparency programs and to use FOI laws in pursuit of breaking news stories.
MuckRock - Makes it easy for you to quickly file Freedom of Information requests, taking out the hassle and only updating you with the results. No need to stamp an envelope, look up an agency address or learn how to properly draft a legal demand: Just type what you're interested in, click submit and then receive your documents scanned, searchable and sharable. MuckRock will even help you analyze them.
Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) - A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) resource for the public and the government. Congress has charged it with reviewing FOIA policies, procedures and compliance of Federal agencies and to recommend changes to FOIA based on what it learns. Its mission also includes resolving FOIA disputes between Federal agencies and requesters.
Office of Information and Privacy (OIP-U.S. Department of Justice) - OIP manages the Department's responsibilities related to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. These responsibilities include coordinating and implementing policy development and compliance governmentwide for the FOIA, and by the Department for the Privacy Act, and deciding all appeals from denials by any Department component of access to information under those Acts. Also see FOIA resources.
Open Public Records - Directly access public records categorized individually by selecting a state, county, city or by entering a zip code of the areas to search. Look up an extensive list of statewide government divisions providing records, how to request official documents, downloadable forms from departments, information about various services and process. Ask about locating hard to find records from visitors and researchers, get answers to your questions and post comments to help others looking for specific information. View statistical data, updated crime reports, current arrests by law enforcement and search for court filings by venue or date.
Open the Government - Seeks to advance the public's right to know and to reduce secrecy in government.
Privacy Times - A leading subscription-only newsletter covering privacy and freedom of information law and policy.
Public Records Search - Search for criminal records, property records, court records, judgments, liens, sex offenders, business licenses, recorded documents and more. Most accurate directory of free public records databases and private information sources. Free public records database searches.
Room 6527 - Long before the NSA started its worldwide assault on communications channels and data storage systems, the USA was already systematically recording and deciphering diplomatic cables. Reports on intercepted messages from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) confidential file room show that Switzerland was one of many countries the Americans snooped on. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, the SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche have gained access to these historic and previously unpublished intercept records.
Secret No More - A subject guide to thousands of FBI files (and their file numbers) that are now publicly accessible.
Show Us the Data: The Most Wanted Federal Government Documents - Is the federal government putting the information you need online? Are there categories of unclassified documents or data that you know exist-on paper or in government computers and databases-that would be of value to the public if posted and regularly updated on an agency's Web site? If so, then help Open the Government and the Center for Democracy and Technology identify the 10 most wanted government documents, reports or data sets that should be available on the web.
SPJ FOIA Resources - The Society of Professional Journalists maintains this Web site as a tool to help journalists and non-journalists in their quest for information from federal and local governments.
Sunlight Foundation - A non-profit, nonpartisan organization that uses the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency, and provides new tools and resources for media and citizens, alike. Committed to improving access to government information by making it available online, indeed redefining "public" information as meaning "online," and by creating new tools and websites to enable individuals and communities to better access that information and put it to use.
Sunshine Week - Your Right to Know - A national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include print, broadcast and online news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public's right to know.
Transparency Project - EFF project dedicated to using federal and state freedom of information laws, the courtroom, and its megaphone to shine light on government activities.
U.S. CIA Electronic Document Release Center - The CIA has established this site to provide the public with an overview of access to CIA information, including electronic access to previously released documents. Because of CIA's need to comply with the national security laws of the United States, some documents or parts of documents cannot be released to the public. In particular, the CIA, like other U.S. intelligence agencies, has the responsibility to protect intelligence sources and methods from disclosure. However, a substantial amount of CIA information has been and/or can be released following review. Also see the 25-Year Program Archive Search page.
U.S. Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA): FOI Reading Room - The Defense Contract Audit Agency, under the authority, direction, and control of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), is responsible for performing all contract audits for the Department of Defense, and providing accounting and financial advisory services regarding contracts and subcontracts to all DoD Components responsible for procurement and contract administration.
U.S. Department of Energy FOIA - The Office of Information Resources is responsible for administering policies, programs, and procedures to ensure DOE compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOlA), 5 U.S.C. 552. If the information is not available here, submit a FOIA request electronically.
U.S. Department of State FOIA - Provides a wealth of information about the Department's FOIA program and how to obtain access to the Department's records, as well as a search tool containing over 85,000 searchable documents reviewed and released to the public.
U.S. Department of the Interior FOIA Program - The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives you the right to access any Department of the Interior (DOI) records unless the information in those records is protected by one or more of the nine exemptions (reasons an agency may withhold records from a requester) and there is a sound legal basis to withhold them.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration FOIA Electronic Reading Room - This index contains categories of frequently requested FDA documents. You can use this index to locate a specific category of documents. Before submitting an FOIA request, check to see if the records you seek are already available on an FDA Web site. In addition, you can check specific FOI sites which have been established by the following agency offices:
U.S. Geological Survey FOIA Electronic Reading Room - FOIA requests for a copy of U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) records can be made by any individual or public or private organization other than a Federal agency. The request must: (1) be in writing or by e-mail to email@example.com, (2) specifically cite the Freedom of Information Act, (3) reasonably describe the records sought, and (4) indicate a willingness to pay fees, (specify the amount they are willing to pay) or ask for a fee waiver. The request will be sent to the USGS FOIA Officer, Mail Stop 807, National Center, Reston, VA 20192.
U.S. Government Manual - Provides comprehensive information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees. Useful for finding right agency for your information request.
U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) FOI - The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, provides public access to agency records unless protected from disclosure by one of the FOIA's nine exemptions or three exclusions. The IRS complies with the FOIA, in part, by maintaining publicly available materials on the Internet in the IRSElectronic Reading Room.
Guide for FOIA Requestors - Provides instructions on obtaining information through the Freedom of Information Act and several links to information and/or documents that are useful to the requestor.
Electronic Reading Room Index - Contains a list of categories of documents or information specifically identified for inclusion by the FOIA, (i.e. the Current Annual Report) as well as documents or links to information for which we have received multiple FOIA requests.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Electronic Reading Room - NRC releases several hundred documents to the public each work day. The website contains contextual information and the documents that are most pertinent to NRC regulatory activities. Many of the documents are in Basic References or Document Collections (see bulleted list). The rest are available either from our record retrieval system, ADAMS, or from our Public Document Room. Documents posted at the Web site are also retrievable from ADAMS.
KWSnet is an Internet subject directory providing special attention to U.S. national and international news, the arts, computing, culture, environment, law, literature, media, politics, science and technology. Based in San Francisco, California, KWSnet contains over 125,000 annotated links to resources worldwide. Use Search KWSnet, located at the top of each page, to search within this site. Use Ctrl-F (Windows) or ⌘-F (Mac) to search within individual pages.
KWSnet's Zotero Library provides news articles as well as primary and secondary sources and bibliographic information for your research. More information on Zotero, a powerful, easy-to-use research tool, can be found at its site.
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