The team behind FOIAonline has been hard at work on “FOIAonline 3.0,” an upgraded version of the federal government’s official FOIA portal. It looks like that work is about to pay off: FOIAonline’s banner indicates that the new site will launch July 9. But there’s a catch: From July 3rd until that launch, FOIAonline will be completely down.
Yup, that means that on FOIA’s 52nd birthday, FOIAonline will be getting a facelift.
On MuckRock’s backend, we support filing requests through FOIAonline for the agencies that prefer it, but the process is seamless for MuckRock users. We take care of filling out the forms and fields FOIAonline provides, and keep the request process consistent for our users.
But with FOIAonline going down for a few days, we wanted to give you some more background on how we’re going to be handling things, why, and how you can opt to file your request in another manner.
As the FOIAonline team migrates to its new platform over the next week, we’ll delay requests that go through the portal until FOIAonline is back up. We believe that ultimately, keeping requests in the FOIAonline system will keep things well organized for users, versus filing requests through alternative means (mailing FOIA requests to some agencies, for example, subjects them to heightened security screening that can take weeks).
However, while FOIAonline has announced they plan to be back online July 9th, unforeseen delays can occur, so we wanted to let you know that if you’d like to keep your requests going out through an alternative means, we’ve made it easy. To re-route a request from FOIAonline to another contact, just click “See where this request is going” or “See how this request will be sent” right above the submit button (language will vary depending on your account type). Then select how you’d like the request sent.
And you don’t have to just wait for FOIAonline to be down to try this feature - you can re-route any request submitted via MuckRock to make sure it gets to the contact you prefer.
If you have questions, just reach out and let us know. In the meantime, no matter how you celebrate it, have a wonderful FOIA birthday and Fourth of July.
Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr and licensed under CC BY 2.0.