This week, the Privacy Office at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) became the first federal agency to release a FOIA mobile application. You can read about the features of the new app in a post on DHS’ blog from their Chief Privacy Officer, Karen Neuman which is also reprinted below. OIP applauds the ingenuity of DHS as they implement innovative approaches to FOIA administration.
Submit a FOIA request anytime, anywhere
By: Karen Neuman, Chief Privacy Officer
I am pleased to announce the release of a new mobile application to further simplify and enhance the process for submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The Department of Homeland Security is committed to transparency and accountability and the eFOIA 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. In fact, this is the first FOIA mobile app in the entire Federal Government.
Using their mobile devices, requesters can now submit requests and check the status of existing requests anyplace, anytime.
Key features of the new eFOIA app will allow users to:
- Submit a FOIA request to any DHS Component
- Check the status of FOIA requests
- Access all of the content on the FOIA website, including the FOIA Library
- Receive updates, changes to events--such as stakeholder meetings/conference calls held by the Department, and recently published documents
DHS receives the largest number of FOIA requests of any federal agency, and produces the largest number of responses. We are continually working to improve our FOIA program by deploying advanced technology both for submitting and processing requests. These efforts include an improved online FOIA submission form, as well as a recently launched online check status capability.
As a result of these efforts, we are starting to see a steady reduction in the FOIA backlog. Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2015, DHS has reduced its FOIA backlog by 20 percent, from 103,480 to 82,324 as of July 1, 2015.
The DHS Privacy Office created the eFOIA app in partnership with the DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer.
The free app is currently available for all Apple and Android devices.