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The Public Online Information Act

In the age of the Internet, government is transparent only when public information is available online. The Public Online Information Act (POIA) is legislation, introduced by Rep. Steve Israel in the House and Sen. Jon Tester in the Senate, that embraces a new formula for transparency: public equals online. No longer will antiquated government disclosure practices bury public information in out-of-the-way offices and in outmoded formats.

POIA requires executive branch agencies to publish all publicly available information on the Internet in a timely fashion and in user-friendly formats. It also creates an advisory committee to help develop government-wide Internet publication policies.

Read More about POIA

A Video Introduction to POIA

POIA in the News

Dems reintroduce Public Online Information Act

04.05.11— The Hill newspaper reports the latest on POIA: Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) reintroduced a bill Monday that would require the federal government to post all publicly available information online in user-friendly formats. Every day, 78 percent of American adults use the internet. It’s become our first stop for news and research. Our government needs to catch up,” Israel said. “People across the country – from scholars to school children – should be able to see any public government information from the convenience of their computer. Public should mean online."

Guest Editorial: Creating online, public accountability for government

04.01.11— March 18—Every day, the federal government releases vast amounts of useful information about every aspect of our nation and how government works. This public information has a deep impact on almost every aspect of American life. Some of it can be used to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, or have a profound effect on health, economic development and commerce. The problem is, much of this government information is too often hard to find, difficult to understand, expensive to obtain in useful formats, and available in only a few locations.

COMMENTARY: It’s time for Massachusetts to pursue greater online access to public information

04.01.11— March 12—The computer has become the first stop for many of us when looking for the answers to a question. We turn to the Internet to find a store or a restaurant, a phone number, directions and updates from friends. Yet, when it comes to finding information about our own government, public records are commonly not available online except, of course, if they are coming from WikiLeaks. Often, to access documents from state agencies, we must go in person, submit a records request by hand or mail, and wait 10 days or longer for a reply.

Time to expand government accountability online

04.01.11— March 17—Every day, the federal government releases vast amounts of useful information about every aspect of our nation and how government works. This public information has a deep impact on almost every aspect of American life. Some of it can be used to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, or have a profound effect on health, economic development and commerce. The problem is, too often, much of this government information is hard to find, difficult to understand, expensive to obtain in useful formats and available in only a few locations.

Guest Editorial: Creating online, public accountability for government

04.01.11— March 18, 2010—Every day, the federal government releases vast amounts of useful information about every aspect of our nation and how government works. This public information has a deep impact on almost every aspect of American life. Some of it can be used to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, or have a profound effect on health, economic development and commerce. The problem is, much of this government information is too often hard to find, difficult to understand, expensive to obtain in useful formats, and available in only a few locations.

POIA Resources