Next week, our office will convene another meeting of the FOIA IT Working Group to continue the discussion of how to harness the power of technology across the government in order to improve the processing of FOIA requests and the public’s FOIA experience.
In his FOIA Memorandum, President Obama called on agencies to “use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government.” This message is echoed by Attorney General Holder in his FOIA Guidelines, noting that “[o]pen government requires agencies to work proactively and respond to requests promptly.” In their Chief FOIA Officer Reports each year, agencies continue to detail the steps they have taken to utilize advanced or new technologies to improve or find efficiencies in their administration of the FOIA.
The panel for this event included Doug Hibbard, Senior Advisor to the Initial Request Staff at OIP, Michael Norman, Director of FOIA Technology with the Privacy Office at the Department of Homeland Security, and Joan Fina, Assistant General Counsel at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
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It's had a massive upgrade to its audio and projection gear, and comfy new seats, but it still retains its original grandeur.OIP’s ongoing series of Best Practices Workshops continued last week with a panel of experts discussing how to utilize technology to improve agency FOIA processes.This series, designed as a part of the United States' Second Open Government National Action Plan commitment to further modernize FOIA, aims to leverage effective strategies from across the government by highlighting and sharing successes achieved by agencies on a wide range of FOIA issues.Additionally, the speakers all highlighted how the use of advanced document review tools, such as functions provided by e Discovery tools, can help create efficiencies and time savings in FOIA administration by reducing the time needed to search for and de-duplicate records, thereby allowing FOIA professionals to spend more time reviewing located documents.The Best Practices series seeks to provide FOIA professionals from around the government the opportunity to hear from individuals who have experience within a particular topic in order to leverage the experiences of others in their own FOIA process.Each panelist discussed steps and best practices they have implemented when incorporating technology into their FOIA processing, including: The speakers at this event all noted that the incorporation of any new technology into the FOIA process is not just the job of FOIA professionals, but it requires the work of multiple staffs within an agency.