Public Information Provision in the Digital Age: Implementation and Effects of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act

By Maarten Botterman; Tora Bikson et al. | Go to book overview

ANNEX 4 ORGANISATION OF INTERVIEWS
As explained, the purpose of this task was to gather information about e-FOIA implementation processes and effects that would not be found in published literature. The intent was to get a picture of FOIA inquiry and response activities from varied perspectives by visiting a number of organizations and interviewing a range of participants who regularly engage in them. Specifically, we arranged working visits to three types of organisations:
1. entities that provide FOIA guidance or oversight (n = 4);
2. responding agencies (n = 5); and
3. requesting organizations (n = 2).

The resulting sample appears, by category, in Table 1.

81

In visits to overarching bodies (category 1), we attempted to gain overviews and historical perspectives as well as comments on the status of e-FOIA implementation across federal agencies and their effects to date. It should be noted that entities in this category may will also belong to category 2; for example, records of the Department of Justice (DOJ) as well as its component bureaus and agencies receive and reply to thousands of FOIA requests per year.

Responding agencies (category 2) were chosen for this study task to reflect organizational procedures ranging from highly centralized (e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]) to highly decentralized (e.g., the Department of Commerce). We also sought to include in this category organizations whose requested records would chiefly comprise text documents, statistical data, registry-like data, or a combination of these.

Finally, given the limited time frame for this study task, it was not possible to include a sizeable range of requesting organizations in working visits–especially because many such organizations are not physically located in or near the nation's capitol. The two organizations visited in this category include the Washington Post, representing the general interests of citizens in responsible government, and the Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC), a special interest group representing citizens concerned about the impact of digital media on both information access and privacy.

____________________
81
This interviewee serves as an independent statistical consultant to several US agencies.

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Public Information Provision in the Digital Age: Implementation and Effects of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Introduction 7
  • 1 - Understanding Foia 9
  • 2 - Comparison Us Vs Dutch Situation 23
  • 3 - Implementation and Impact of Foia 31
  • 4 - Concluding Remarks 47
  • Annexes 52
  • Annex 1: Foia Legal Text 54
  • Annex 2 Wob Legal Text (translated from Dutch) 64
  • Annex 3: Comparative Tables Between Foia and the Wob 69
  • Annex 4 Organisation of Interviews 74
  • Annex 5 – Literature and Web Site References 76
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