FOIA is a right and not a privilege, and that is what a lot of people say. There are a ton of people that strongly advocated for this law way back in the 1970s, and it became one of the most important laws for that time period, era, and location. There were a lot of people that really appreciated and loved that era, and it had many lasting ramifications come from it,, like the passing of the Freedom of Information Act. This act transformed America, and it has had some positive and negative consequences. There are a lot of people that are around today that haven’t realized how important it has been to American history. It has caused us to change and challenge a lot of laws. The information that is available has fundamentally changed the way we form new laws today. The information has given citizens a new resources in fighting the harsh laws that are not good for ordinary Americans. By exposing the past, we can see forward to a better future. Getting into a better tomorrow is very important for people that are serious about changing the country and making it a better place for everyone to live in.

The Freedom of Information Act ensures that the media and private citizens have access to most government documents, which helps ensure integrity, accountability and transparency.

FOIA was passed into law in 1966 and went into effect the following year. It basically gives the public a court-enforceable right to government documents as long as those documents don’t fall under a specific exemption or exclusion. Those exemptions and exclusions deal with things such as national security, open law enforcement investigations and personnel information.

Governments often make records available Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve probably heard about the Freedom of Information Act, maybe on satellite tv shows or in the news, but did you ever wonder where the act came from and how it has evolved?

Based on the idea of partial or full disclosure of documents that were previously sealed or classified and controlled by the United States government, the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson on July 4th, 1966, and went into effect on July 1st, 1967.

Even though the Freedom of Information Act has evolved and changed since its original inception, the Act specifically applies to the Executive branch of federal government, and the agencies that fall under the jurisdiction of the Executive branch. The idea behind the Act, simply is that people have a right to know. However, there are nine specific instances where the common citizen does not have the right to documentation from the Executive branch and their agencies, but the two primary reasons for denial of information are “…specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy” and “trade secrets” to “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

These exceptions have been contested and litigated multiple times throughout the last half century, highlighted by Department of Justice v. Landanowhich argued that the federal government was not entitled to the presumption that a source is confidential under the meaning of Exemption of the Act when said source provided to an Executive branch agency, in this case being the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the course of a criminal, felonious investigation.

As with any piece of legislation, amendments and changes to that law come about. For example, on September 6th, 1966-even before the original version of the FOIA was enacted, President Johnson signed Title 5, which stated that “Except as otherwise required by statute, matters of official record shall be made available, in accordance with published rule, to persons properly and directly concerned, except information held confidential for good cause found.”

When President Gerald Ford attempted to veto the Privacy Act of 1974-a FOIA strengthening set of legislation, Congress voted to override the veto, which still provides the very backbone of the FOIA that the United States uses today.

No branch of the government, whether it is local, state, or federal, is known for its transparency or for being forthcoming with information willingly. That is why the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law in 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The act allows for all or part of governmental documents to be disclosed upon request to the U.S. government, and has since extended to state and local governing entities, as well.

Today, all it takes Read the rest of this entry »

The Freedom of Information Act, more commonly referred to as FOIA, is a United State national law that forces disclosure of information and documents the federal government possesses, but that had been unavailable or classified to the American public. It was first enacted in 1966 and went into effect the next year.

Proponents of FOIA praise it for promoting transparency in government. With the United States functioning as a democratic republic, it is important to remember that those elected and appointed to executive level positions are not just working for their salaries–they are working for all American citizens.Check out Read the rest of this entry »

The Freedom of Information Act has been an important journalistic tool since its enactment, but sometimes a request for government records can involve information of a highly sensitive nature. National security is a high priority within the United States government and a FOIA request can include protected information that may jeopardize national security interests or put American citizens in harms way.

Judges tend to side with the petitioning journalist in cases of a FOIA request, so it is important for the respondent government agency to present a compelling case for denial if Read the rest of this entry »

Stonewalling and secrecy are never positive for government entities. Many governmental agencies deny all requests for information and documents under the Freedom of Information Act as a matter of department policy. This situation requires a judicial order to fulfill the legal request.

Some agencies do this just to make sure that the process is completely in accordance with the law. Others do it because they can, essentially stalling the process in hopes of a sympathetic judge. Releasing Read the rest of this entry »

The Freedom of Information Act was originally passed in 1966. Its purpose is to provide the public with a way to access information concerning activities of the Executive Branch of the United States Government. It has been amended several times to update provisions and to ensure that national security is not compromised through inappropriate release of documents. Its powers have been expanded and contracted over the years, depending on the attitudes of Congress and the Executive Branch and on events occurring in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

In a country where the government is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people, there are still going to be some secrets that will need to be kept. These are the ones that pertain to national security as it truly is, not as some politician decides it is.

For decades people have fought to make the government more accountable to the public, and the FOIA being passed was a tremendous step in that direction. What many failed to realize when they reached that goal was that the government agencies Read the rest of this entry »

While the Freedom of Information Act is a part of life, and there won’t be a ton of people telling you that the idea or the entire act is a terrible thing. However, many people believe that there should be some sort of limiting factor on the requests that people can make using the provisions of the freedom of information act. The problem is, that while many requests are for very useful information that could uncover major problems Read the rest of this entry »