New York City Freedom Of Information Requests Fail Miserably
from the doesn't-Bloomberg-own-an-information-company dept
Interesting timing on this one. As you may recall, back in May we filed three Freedom of Information requests, two with NYC and one with Homeland Security’s ICE division. To date, we’ve only received one complete response, from NYC telling us that they didn’t have the documents in question — which actually revealed some interesting info about how Homeland Security was posting NBC propaganda as if it were done by itself.
However, we’re still waiting on the other two. ICE has said that they’re still processing our request (though I believe it’s now past the legal limit to do so). Similarly, NYC is way past due in fulfilling our request under NYC’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
It turns out that this is par for the course for New York City. Reader Stephen points us to a report that says that, even though Mayor Bloomberg has promised to be much more transparent, the city government regularly witholds information or ignores requests altogether, according to amNewYork. The NY Times has even sued the city over this. amNewYork ran some tests itself, sending out 38 requests, and detailing the responses. Here are a few of the lowlights from NYC:
- Eight agencies failed to respond within the five-business-day deadline they are given to make the information available, deny the request with a reason, or provide an approximate date when the documents will be ready.
- Some agencies expressed disdain for answering queries. Concerning a related question on FOIL requests, a city Housing Preservation and Development staffer wrote in an email to a records officer that ?this is the kind of crap I have no patience for.? Incidentally, HPD was the fastest agency to respond to amNY?s initial FOIL request, taking two days.
The report has a lot more information and details, but it sounds like folks working for the NYC government really just don’t care and so they don’t really follow the law.