Dedicated to supporting the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), FOIA.gov was originally developed in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Justice to provide general information about making a FOIA request as well as access to FOIA data for all federal agencies.
Under the mandate of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, FOIA.gov was relaunched in March 2018 with an online request portal, streamlining the process by which citizens can request information from agencies. It is not mandatory for federal agencies to utilize this new site. However, by providing a searchable, online portal for FOIA requests, FOIA.gov is a major step toward making this information available as open data. It also provides transparency on agencies’ compliance with the law.
As the FOIA.gov website says: “FOIA.gov serves as the government’s comprehensive FOIA website for all information on the FOIA. Among many other features, FOIA.gov provides a central resource for the public to understand the FOIA, to locate records that are already available online, and to make a request for information that is not yet publicly available. FOIA.gov also promotes agency accountability for the administration of the FOIA by graphically displaying the detailed statistics contained in Annual FOIA Reports, so that they can be compared by agency and over time.”