Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
established public access to government information. The vast bulk of information controlled by the federal government was made available under the Act, but certain exceptions still apply. These include classified national defense and foreign policy information, privileged or confidential trade and financial information, internal personnel records and documents, information concerning certain law enforcement matters, and geological and geophysical research information concerning wells. Information not exempt from public disclosure was deemed available to virtually anyone regardless of nationality or need to know. Most federal agencies issue bulletins that describe how to obtain the information they hold. In some cases a fee is charged to persons requesting documents to offset records search and duplication costs. The Act was amended in 2007 and 2009.