March 20, 2007 | By Derek Slater

Action Alert - Improve the Freedom of Information Act!

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) helps protect the public's right to know, and new legislation would provide some much-needed updates to this crucial law. One open government bill has already passed the House -- make sure a similar one passes in the Senate.

H.R. 1309 and S. 849 [PDF] give federal agencies, like the FBI and the FCC, greater incentive to follow the law and make it easier for all FOIA requesters to access government documents. Among other reforms, the bills will help government watchdogs keep track of FOIA requests they've sent and ensure that more journalist requesters get preferred treatment under the law. The bills will also penalize agencies that don't respond to requests within the time limits set by the FOIA.

Revelations about the secret NSA spying program, the FBI's misuse of a key PATRIOT Act power, and other privacy-invasive initiatives clearly demonstrate the importance of government transparency. EFF's FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) project relies on FOIA to expose the government's expanding use of new technologies that invade Americans' privacy, and these bills would greatly help in our and other organizations' efforts to protect your rights.

Take action now and support S. 849 now!

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