Sunday, March 14, 2004

Freedom of Information Act

I've gotten very interested in the Willie Horton thing recently for a number of reasons (which I won't go into here), but I thought I might get around to using that FOIA thing that I see so much these days. FindLaw has the law text - the text is fairly outrageous, as you might expect, but it's kinda cool to be able to read it anyway. Maybe one day I'll even understand it.

The National Security Archive at GW has a small site about what the FOIA is and how to use it. There is also a short, layman's intro guide to the FOIA, done by Ralph Nader's Center for Responsive Politics (aka with The Litigation Group of Public Citizen. I leave it as an exercise (in futility) for the reader to figure out how these groups relate to one another.

It seems like each government agency has their own FOIA department to handle all the requests that come in. 'Reading rooms' have been established to allow people to come in and study-up, but not too sure why they exist if we have this thing called the Internet. Maybe not everyone is internet savvy - fine. If it keeps the gubment slightly less dishonest than they would have been without the reading rooms, then I'm all for them.

UPDATE: Seems like these 'reading rooms' may be virtual, internet-based reading rooms where commonly-requested documents are archived for the public's viewing pleasure.