FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: FBI to revise online FOIA system after criticism

FOIA News (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

FBI to lift restrictions on online FOIA system after reports it would ditch email, switch to fax

Andrew Couts & Dell Cameron, The Daily Dot, Feb. 7, 2017

The Federal Bureau of Investigation will lift all restrictions on its online system for filing public-records requests and limit the amount of personal information users must provide, an FBI spokeswoman told the Daily Dot on Tuesday.

Revelations concerning the expanded capabilities of the FBI's online records portal, which will launch on March 1, follow reports on Monday that the agency would no longer accept Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests via email and would further limit the types and volume of records that requesters could make online.

A terms-of-service agreement on the FBI’s website outlined restrictions for users of its online FOIA-submissions portal, dubbed eFOIPA. The terms stipulated that “not all requests” could be made through the portal and accepted requests would be limited to “events, organizations, first party requests (Privacy Act requests), and deceased individuals.” FBI emails and other types of agency correspondence, which are often requested under FOIA, were excluded from the list, indicating they could only be requested via fax or standard mail.

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