The iFOIA resource, which is online at www.ifoia.org, is an extension of the Reporters Committee’s popular FOIA Letter Generator, which has been a feature of the organization’s website since 1996. iFOIA can be used on a desktop or mobile device, and allows users to choose whether to keep their correspondence chains with government agencies confidential or share them with designated colleagues, such as editors and lawyers. It also includes a FOIA Wiki for feedback and discussions. Because it automatically organizes all of a reporter’s files, it is designed to help with lawsuits and agency appeals when government stonewalling presents no other option.
I sent my first request in this morning, a straightforward one that shouldn’t require any payment or any appeal, and I’m hopeful that it will work as easily as it seems to work. The site is in beta.
The other FOIA request system to compare it with is the now-venerable Muckrock, which does a similar task. The biggest visible difference with Muckrock is that the iFOIA site doesn’t appear to have a one-step straightforward way to share your FOIA request and results with the world. Muckrock serves as both a request and publication platform, and seems to be tuned to publicity and activism; the RCFP system looks like it’s designed more for the journalist keeping their work private until it shows up in print.