FOIA: Accessing Government Information


FOIA government information

How Is Government Information Made Available?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed to make government more transparent and information more accessible to the public. It is easier said than done. I worked as a backup FOIA Technician briefly at the FDA San Francisco District and you can’t imagine the number of requests that come in and the amount of work for an FOI Tech to redact proprietary information. It is a big job without a lot of resources committed to it. FDA anticipates request for certain documents and places them into their electronic reading room. You can access Warning Letters directly from FDA’s Home Page (scroll down on the right under “Recalls and Alerts”). The problem is they don’t anticipate many documents and, as the Government’s Attic people let us know, if it isn’t requested it isn’t necessarily produced. FDA has tried to improve that situation with the Transparency Task Force. Unfortunately it has had some mixed results. Here are two sites from FDA to look at. There is also the entertaining and informative FOIA presentation by Government’s Attic. It is information that we should all take a look at. FDA just might be one of the more accessible organizations although it still isn’t easy to access much of FDA’s information. Knowing where to look is certainly not easy.

Finally, the Washington Post has just completed a series on government secrecy, called Top Secret America,on security issues that doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Accessing government information is not becoming easier despite the FOIA.

FDA FOIA Page

FDA Transparency Task Force

Government’s Attic

Update: POGO on SEC

New on the Blogroll: I’m not the only GxP type with a blog. Here is a well-written blog by Jackie Mardell-
Two Decades and Counting

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