Federal News Network: FOIA backlogs on the rise after record number of requests . “Freedom of Information Act backlogs soared at some key agencies after the public filed a record number of FOIA requests in fiscal 2022. Agencies received 928,353 requests last year and processed 878,420 requests, both record highs, according to the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy. Agencies were required to upload their fiscal 2022 annual FOIA reports by March 1.”
Honolulu Civil Beat: The Military’s Public Information Black Hole. “Since I started reporting in Hawaii in 2019, I’ve filed numerous FOIA requests with the military, primarily the Navy. Time and again, I have filed one with the hopes of shining a light on an issue of public importance only to have it fizzle into nothingness. The Freedom of Information Act, which is supposed to provide the transparency needed for a healthy democracy, is too often a pathway to a dead end that leaves us in the dark on critical issues. “
Roll Call: Pentagon renews effort to withhold more unclassified records. “Pentagon leaders are asking Congress to expand the kinds of unclassified information about military operations that the department can withhold from the public, continuing what has been an annual tradition for seven years and spanning three administrations. Officials with the Pentagon general counsel’s office are requesting that the Armed Services committees, in writing the fiscal 2022 defense authorization bill, prescribe changes to the Freedom of Information Act that would limit public access to certain data.”
Muckrock: Looking for a better way to teach public records? Read what we’ve learned in Make FOIA Work
Muckrock: Looking for a better way to teach public records? Read what we’ve learned in Make FOIA Work. “Last August, with support from the Online News Association, we partnered with the Engagement Lab at Emerson College and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism to explore new ways of teaching public records to students and the broader community. Five workshops, four articles, and a hundred public records requests later, our partners at the Engagement Lab have put together a new website, Make FOIA Work, and downloadable guide on what we’ve learned, ideas to make Freedom of Information work more exciting and accessible, and a blueprint for others to build on.”
The FBI is testing a new eFOIA system. “The FBI recently began open beta testing of eFOIA, a system that puts Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests into a medium more familiar to an ever-increasing segment of the population. This new system allows the public to make online FOIA requests for FBI records and receive the results from a website where they have immediate access to view and download the released information. Previously, FOIA requests have only been made through regular mail, fax, or e-mail, and all responsive material was sent to the requester through regular mail either in paper or disc format.” There are several restrictions – be sure to read the full announcement.