Federal agencies don't use Web to distribute information

Only one in five agencies post records required under e-FOIA law, and only a fraction tell users how to request information.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor on
Federal agencies have abjectly failed to use the Internet for information dissemination, a new study says, according to the Washington Post. In 1996, Congress passed the "e-FOIA" law to require agencies to put public information online, thus increasing public knowledge and controlling FOIA compliance costs.
But the new study by the National Security Archive, a nongovernmental research institute and library located at George Washington University, finds that 10 years after Congress passed "E-FOIA," agency Web sites distinguish themselves more for cyber-foot-dragging than for streamlined access.

Out of 149 federal agencies, only 1 in 5 posts all the required records required. Even fewer -- 6 percent -- tell people how to request what does not appear there. Two-thirds do not provide indexes to their major records systems, or they provide guides that are so unclear they are worthless. Only 1 in 4 agencies includes an online FOIA submission form on its Web site.

Further proof that the federal government says no thanks to open government, perhaps out of a sense that terrorists will use this information.

"It seems like a no-brainer. . . . It's a very basic Web practice that was adopted by the private sector several years ago or more," said Kristin Adair, staff counsel for the National Security Archive and the report's primary author.
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