What Is FOIA Used For?

Are police reports subject to FOIA?

Under the federal Freedom of Information Act and public records laws in all 50 states, anyone can request information from federal, state and local agencies like the FBI, the Environmental Protection Agency or your local police department..

What can you ask for in a FOIA request?

What can I ask for when making a FOIA request? You may ask for copies of your own records, or for copies of any other records currently maintained in FSA files. If you ask for copies of your own records, your request may also be processed under the Privacy Act.

Can you make a FOIA request to a private company?

Does the Freedom of Information Act apply to private companies? The FOI Act will apply to your private sector business if: the information you share with a public body is subject to an FOI request. the information you share is published under the public body’s publication scheme.

When can a FOIA be denied?

Under section 17(5), a public authority relying on a claim that section 14 of the FOIA applies will usually need to issue a refusal notice stating that the request has been refused on the grounds that it is vexatious or repeated.

What is the Freedom of Information Act FOIA and why is it important?

Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.

What is subject to FOIA?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) generally provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.

Who can use FOIA?

The FOIA is codified at 5 U.S.C. Section 552. “Any person” can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, associations, and universities. In 1974, after the Watergate scandal, the Act was amended to force greater agency compliance.

How do you write a good FOIA request?

FOIA Tip No. 9: Writing a Good FOIA Request Part IIBe clear and specific. … Make sure your request is reasonable in scope. … Provide a date range for records or a date of the event you are researching. … Provide accurate titles and full names, and include any news stories discussing the subject of your request. … Keep your request brief.More items…•

What is the difference between freedom of information and subject access request?

If the information you want is information relating to YOU and your personal data then a subject access request will do. If the information you want is for example about the number of car crash incidents in a given year an FOI request will do.

Does FOIA apply to local governments?

The FOIA does not apply to the Congress, the courts, or the central offices of the White House, nor does it apply to records in the custody of state or local governments. However, all state governments have their own FOIA-type statutes.

How long does a FOIA request take?

You normally have 20 working days to respond to a request. For a request to be valid under the Freedom of Information Act it must be in writing, but requesters do not have to mention the Act or direct their request to a designated member of staff.

What is the purpose of FOIA?

Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.

What are the nine main exemptions to FOIA?

FOIA ExemptionsExemption 1. Protects information that is properly classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958.Exemption 2. Protects records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.Exemption 3. … Exemption 4. … Exemption 5. … Exemption 6. … Exemption 7. … Exemption 8.More items…•