What it’s like to sue the government for data

It started out simply: Quartz's David Yanofsky was reporting a story about the number of Brazilians who visit Disney World each year. He needed data about who was entering the United States, and when, where, and why. When he found the information he was looking for, he got some bad news: he'd have to buy it.

A subset of the Department of Commerce was charging $173,775* for the data. Attempts to get the data through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, a regular outlet for journalists, were unsuccessful. Why sell? "Because they can," Yanofsky says. Continue…