FBI tests web-based FOIA requests
- By Derek Major
- Dec 02, 2015
In an effort to begin to streamline Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request processing, the FBI recently began open beta testing of eFOIA, its new web-based system that allows users to request FBI records and receive access to view and download the released information.
In the past, FOIA requests were made through regular mail, fax or email, and all responsive material was sent to the requester through regular mail, either in paper or disc format.
According to David Hardy, chief of the FBI’s Record/Information Dissemination Section, the number of FOIA requests have risen substantially in the past few years and the new process should increase FBI efficiency and decrease administrative costs.
“Requests have increased over the past decade by as much as a third,” he said. “Over the past year, we’ve received approximately 18,500 requests, and, thanks to a skilled workforce and increasing automation, we were able to review for release 1.1 million pages.” Hardy also noted the new process should increase FBI efficiency and decrease administrative costs.
According to the FBI, users can request information on organizations, events, or deceased individuals. In order to have their request processed, users will need to provide a valid e-mail address and a government-issued ID in .pdf, .doc, .png, .gif, .jpg, or .jpeg formats. In addition, users are limited to one request per day.
The FBI encourages requesters to try eFOIA and to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or problems. In several months, the FBI plans to move eFOIA into full production mode.
Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.