Freedom of Information Act

Freedom of Information Act (1966), law requiring that U.S. government agencies release their records to the public on request, unless the information sought falls into a category specifically exempted, such as national security, an individual's right to privacy, or internal agency management. The act provides for court review of agency refusals to furnish identifiable records. The states also have similar laws. The federal government and some states have also adopted so-called sunshine laws that require governmental bodies, as a matter of general policy, to hold open meetings, announced in advance. Presidential papers remained under the control of individual American presidents until 1981, when the Presidential Records Act—enacted by Congress in 1978—took effect. Under it, presidential papers were to be released to the public 12 years after an administration ended. In 2001, however, President George W. Bush signed an executive order that gave a former president or a sitting president the right to prevent the release of a former president's papers to the public. The G. W. Bush administration was also generally more reluctant to release documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Freedom of Information Act: Selected full-text books and articles

Freedom of Environmental Information By Benjamin W. Cramer LFB Scholarly, 2011
Can Government and Industry Conspire to Thwart FOIA? A Critical Analysis of Critical Mass III By Long, Patrick The Journal of High Technology Law, Vol. 13, No. 1, January 2013
Privacy, Personhood, and the Courts: FOIA Exemption 7(C) in Context By Hartman, Scott A The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 120, No. 2, November 2010
Democracy's Backlog: The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Ten Years Later By Ratish, Robert Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal, Vol. 34, No. 1, Fall 2007
Less Government, More Secrecy: Reinvention and the Weakening of Freedom of Information Law By Roberts, Alasdair S Public Administration Review, Vol. 60, No. 4, July 2000
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Missed Information By Doyle, Michael The Washington Monthly, Vol. 32, No. 5, May 2000
Free Information By Jones, Harriet History Today, Vol. 50, No. 8, August 2000
Mass Communication Law and Ethics By Roy L. Moore Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: "The 1996 Freedom of Information Act" begins on p. 466
Foiled FOIA By Wicklein, John American Journalism Review, Vol. 18, No. 3, April 1996
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