FOIA: Then and Now

Sami Kerzel


Enacted in 1966 and effective July 4, 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives people, both citizens and non-citizens, the right to request access to federal executive branch agency records. According to FOIA’s website, provided by the United States Department of Justice, FOIA “is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.” However, agencies may at their own discretion provide access to records that fall under these exemptions and exclusions when allowed by law. Due to amendments that have occurred overtime, FOIA remains relevant in today’s technological world. Some information, called proactive disclosures, are made freely available online by agencies, which do not require a request, and when requests are needed they can be made electronically. To truly understand FOIA an understanding of its general workings, amendment history and recent legislation is beneficial.

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