Campaign: Making Data More Accessible

FOIA Tracking System

FOIA requests can take many months to process. It would be great if one could go to a web site and track where in the queue yours was, and maybe get an idea of when it would get worked on. When you phone a call center, they may tell you how many are in front of you, or what the average wait time. I don't know about all agencies, but on some you can't find anything about their processing times statistically, much less ...more »

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Campaign: Making Data More Accessible

Frequent FOIA on web site

This comment applies specifically to the State Department (but might apply elsewhere).

 

The FOIA requires government agencies to post on their web sites FOIA results that are likely to be asked again. The department of State has a very limited amount of material, which cannot represent everything likely to be asked again.

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Campaign: Making Government Operations More Open

Sunset all classified /non FOIA information

At some point, everything the governement says, does, or produces should become public record. All classified information, all the President's papers, everything should *eventually* become public knowledge. When it becomes public would depend on the content. Initially maybe many things are allowed to stay classified. But as that classified information gets older and older, it should be harder and harder for the government ...more »

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Campaign: Making Government Operations More Open

Time to update the Freedom of Information Act

The government's own statistics and various studies from the National Security Archive and others have shown the massive delays in processing FOIA requests. Drafting and application of FOIA exemption claims and classification policy has been demonstrated to depend too heavily on the attitude of the particular administration towards openness. Governments frequently confuse what they perceive to be the interest of the ...more »

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Campaign: Records Management

Automatic Saving and Storage of E-mails and other Electronic Records in their Original Format

The federal government can become more environmentally friendly and more efficient by taking the relatively undemanding step of creating a system which automatically saves, catalogues and organizes all electronically created records in electronic format.

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Campaign: Making Government Operations More Open

Promote Open Government and Protect Privacy

We have open government laws and privacy laws for the federal government. Individual privacy and government transparency are complementary ideals in a democratic society. Open government helps ensure transparency and enhance public participation. Privacy protections bolster public confidence in the government’s treatment of citizens. Citizens are better able to participate in government initiatives when they are certain ...more »

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Campaign: Making Government Operations More Open

Opening our past, cutting secrecy at the source

Only a few pieces of recent legislation have had any impact on the efforts to release the growing classified archives that mark the theft of our own history by the national security state. The Nazi War Crimes Records Act and the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Act have released over 15 million pages of classified documents relating to key pieces of our history, and have far outstripped the ineffective Freedom of ...more »

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Campaign: Making Government Operations More Open

Revise OPM Report to Direct Changes in Personnel Policies for FOIA Professionals

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should reconsider and revise its December 2008 report issued pursuant to Section 11 of the OPEN Government Act of 2007, regarding improving personnel practices for employees who administer the FOIA in the federal government. The report fails to recommend any meaningful action by OPM, but rather suggests a continuation of the status quo, with individual agencies having responsibility ...more »

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Campaign: Making Data More Accessible

To Make FOIA Work, Costs of Non-Disclosure Must Be Greater than Benefits

Charge agencies daily substantial penalties for each day past statutory deadlines on FOIA request, this may be done by executive order, I believe. Charges should come from overall budget of agency, not FOIA department. Failure to answer FOIA requests by government officials should also be punished by individual reprimands and other administrative sanctions. These guidelines could be worked out by OPM across all agencies ...more »

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Campaign: Making Data More Accessible

Empower the National Archives and Records Adminstration to enforce the JFK Records Act

The JFK Records, passed unanimously by Congress in 1992, was a landmark in open government. To quell controversy about the causes of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, the Congress mandated that the government release all assassination-related records in its position. The Congress also created an independent Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) to insure compliance with the law. The ARRB did an excellent ...more »

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Campaign: Legal & Policy Challenges

The administration should curb new exemptions from FOIA

According to government agencies themselves, every year federal departments and agencies cite roughly 140 statutes to deny thousands of requests for information; our coalition (the Sunshine in Government Initiative) estimates that more than 240 are on the books. The agencies themselves are often the originators of these new legislative loopholes. Recommendation: Any new statutory exemptions proposed or supported by ...more »

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Campaign: Making Government Operations More Open

Require Agencies to Affirmatively Disclose Information to the Public, as Mandated by E-FOIA

The Electronic Freedom of Information Act (E-FOIA) offers a starting point for affirmative and proactive government transparency efforts. The law requires agencies to make available online basic information about agency practices and policies and, most significantly, information requested or likely to be requested frequently under FOIA. Unfortunately, many agencies have not complied fully with E-FOIA, have interpreted ...more »

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