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Freedom of Information Act

files agencies foia records

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) act giving the public right of access to governmental records. Enacted in 1966 and strengthened in 1974, FOIA provides that agencies must respond to requests for information within 10 working days; appeals are supposed to be settled in another 20. Most requests under the act come from businesses seeking information in governmental files about their competitors. Some records are exempted from the act, including confidential files of law enforcement and intelligence agencies and information gained by the Federal Trade Commission through subpoenas. In 1981 the Reagan administration proposed that such exemptions be broadened.

See also: Sunshine laws.

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