It’s been more than 50 years since the passage of the federal Freedom of Information Act. The United States’ government makes thousands of datasets available to the public, and facilitates access through a unified federal open data portal.
Despite the law and new technology, plenty of people find it difficult to get the information they need. It’s not always simple to navigate to the information you want. And not everything is online.
Complaints of federal agencies failing to share requested data are common enough that the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press posts instructions on how to file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Local governments don’t necessarily have the same information sharing obligations as federal agencies. They’re governed by state and local laws, and although they’re often required to share information on request, not every local government has the resources or motivation to make it easy.
See the list of 90 municipal open data portals compiled by Forbes. Read more…