FOIA software aims to ease request burden
- By Daniel Keegan
- May 09, 2000
New software allows the receiving and processing of Freedom of Information
Act requests online.
FOIAXpress, from AINS Inc., allows users to create an account on an agency's
World Wide Web site, so that they can request information, receive progress
reports and download the resulting information.
Any government agency that deals with FOIA requests can buy the software.
AINS would then tailor the software to the particular laws of the state
or agency and attach the system to the agency's current Web site. If the
agency doesn't have a site, one will be created.
Cristina Farr, AINS spokeswoman, said the software makes it easier for users
to stay updated on the progress of the request and increases the efficiency
of the FOIA officers.
"Because the user is filling out the forms electronically, it allows the
FOIA officer to spend more time on processing the requests instead of inputting
data," she said.
Once an account is established and a request is made, a FOIA officer for
the particular agency will review the application to ensure it fits the
law. The officer can then use the FOIAXpress software to automatically inform
the individual who requested the information whether the request was accepted.
An e-mail message is then posted on the individual's online account (which
can only be accessed by a password and user name).
As the process continues, e-mail feedback is continually provided about
the status of the request, including any applicable fees. The request can
also be canceled online at any time.
Finally, depending on the requester's wishes, the final document can
either be posted online so it can be downloaded, or mailed conventionally.
AINS Inc. is an information technology firm based in Rockville, Md., that
specializes in Web development, e-commerce solutions, and custom software