Government gets its first FOIA app

Screenshots of DHS's new eFOIA app. (DHS/Greg Otto)

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The Department of Homeland Security released a mobile app Tuesday that allows the public to submit and track Freedom of Information Act requests, the first of its kind in the federal government.

The eFOIA app was a creation of both the department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer and the chief privacy officer. In a blog entry posted Tuesday, DHS CPO Karen Neuman said the app is “the latest in a series of efforts that the DHS Privacy Office has taken to help modernize FOIA processes and improve the customer experience.”

Users can file a FOIA request straight from the app, check the status of prior requests, search through already-released documents, and research various statutes and resources related to FOIA requests.

DHS receives the the largest number of FOIA requests of any federal agency and produces the largest number of responses. The department has made an effort to clear out its large backlog, which Neuman said is being steadily reduced. Since the beginning of fiscal year 2015, DHS has reduced its FOIA backlog by 20 percent as of July 1.

The federal government has been trying to combat problems with the FOIA system for the past few years. Recently, the General Services Administration’s 18F has been working on OpenFOIA, a website that lets users search for information on how to file requests in the federal government.

The eFOIA app is free on both iOS and Android.

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App Development / APIs, Applications & Software, FOIA, Government IT News, Homeland Security, Tech
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