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FOIA News: New Federal Government App Solves The Wrong FOIA Problems, Poorly

FOIA News (2015-16)Kevin SchmidtComment

New Federal Government App Solves The Wrong FOIA Problems, Poorly

By Alexander Howard, Huffington Post, 7/7/15

When the Department of Homeland Security launched a mobile app to send Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests directly to the federal government agency, it created a precedent. Unfortunately, it was a bad one.

Instead of launching a better way for the public to make and track requests or teaming up with the Department of Justice to fund work on a universal FOIA request feature at the government's openFOIA website, the federal agency that receives and responds to the largest number of FOIA requests in the country actually made the experience of submitting one worse.

The app lets you do a bunch of things you already could do on the World Wide Web: It was already possible to learn how to make a FOIA request online using a simple form at DHS.gov or regulations.govcheck the status of a request, browse the DHS FOIA library or read about exemptions using a mobile web browser. Instead of just making any of those webpages responsive to the device accessing them, however, DHS made a new mobile app with a tiny font size that duplicates them.

Read more here.