The FBI recently began open beta testing of eFOIA, a system that puts Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests into a medium more familiar to an ever-increasing segment of the population. This new system allows the public to make online FOIA requests for FBI records and receive the results from a website where they have immediate access to view and download the released information.
Previously, FOIA requests have only been made through regular mail, fax, or e-mail, and all responsive material was sent to the requester through regular mail either in paper or disc format. “The eFOIA system,” says David Hardy, chief of the FBI’s Record/Information Dissemination Section, “is for a new generation that’s not paper-based.” Hardy also notes that the new process should increase FBI efficiency and decrease administrative costs.
The eFOIA system continues in an open beta format to optimize the process for requesters. The Bureau encourages requesters to try eFOIA and to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or difficulties encountered while using it. In several months, the FBI plans to move eFOIA into full production mode.