Opinion: EFF Launches Awards Program For Most Outrageous Failures In FOIA Responses

We've written many stories about ridiculous responses to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests (as well as similar state and local law requests) over the years. I've personally filed a few FOIA requests over the years and have never seen one sufficiently answered in the time limit required by the law.

These days, it's becoming all too common for people to have to go to court to actually get such public records requests answered. Of course, filing a lawsuit is not easy or cheap, and unless you're the ACLU, EFF or Jason Leopold (the so-called "FOIA terrorist"), not many people actually go that far. And that's what the various government agencies depend on. I currently have two outstanding FOIA requests — one involving Homeland Security which has simply stopped responding to repeated requests for an update (after nearly a year) and a second one involving a state government agency that is demanding thousands of dollars for a very simple request. I imagine I'll have more to say on both of those eventually.

In the meantime, the EFF has decided to do something beyond just suing: naming and shaming the most egregious violators (and celebrating those who filed the requests). EFF has announced its "Foilies" awards for "the most outrageous responses to Freedom of Information Act and state open records act requests." Anyone is free to nominate examples, even if you weren't the one who made the request. You just need to be able to point to the details of the request (whether the specific responses and/or news stories about them): Continue>>>