Freedom of Information Act, The

A U.S. federal law that ensures citizen access to federal government agency records. FOIA only applies to federal executive branch documents. It does not apply to legislative or judicial records. FOIA requests will be fulfilled unless they are subject to nine specific exemptions. Most states have some state level equivalent of FOIA. The federal and most state FOIA statutes include a specific exemption for personal information so that sensitive data (such as Social Security numbers) are not disclosed.

Link to text of law: The Freedom of Information Act

Acronym(s): FOIA