AINS, Inc., held its 2012 FOIAXpress Users Group Conference in downtown Washington D.C. FOIAXpress is a software system produced by AINS, Inc. that automates compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act. Over 200 government FOIA professionals from over 50 government agencies attended the FOIAXpess conference which went over new features of the latest FOIAXpress software release.
Under FOIA, government agencies must respond to public requests for information and must release all responsive non-exempted information to the requestor.
The conference began with remarks from former OIP co director Richard Huff. Mr. Huff focused on the difficulty and importance of the work FOIA professionals perform. Mr. Huff argued that statutes and definitions regarding the FOIA and Privacy act are often vague and the expectations placed on FOIA professionals are sometimes unrealistic. He concluded, however, that regardless of the difficulties, the work of a FOIA professional is a ‘high calling’ that fills an integral role in facilitating transparency in our Government.
The conference also introduced the new FOIAXpress Discovery module which allows FOIA professionals to automate their initial document review process through elimination of duplicate documents and compare similar documents with the near-duplicate document review tool.
Also new to this year’s conference was the FOIA Community Session, which separated attendees into groups according to their agency: DOD, Financial and General. Each group then engaged in lively discussions regarding their unique FOIA management process, sharing ideas for improvement government-wide.
Attendees were encouraged to ask questions and make suggestions on how to improve the FOIAXpress system throughout the presentations.
“Our FOIAXpress User’s Conference is an opportunity for our customers to learn how to best utilize our software, and an opportunity for us to learn how we can continue to make their FOIA processing easier,” said Moe Goswami, CEO of AINS, inc. “The high turnout and enthusiasm of our customers at this conference underscores the government’s strong commitment to transparency.”
Government transparency has been a high priority for the Obama Administration.
In the past, agencies have struggled to keep up with a high volume of requests. The Obama administration has encouraged agencies to utilize technology to streamline their FOIA processes.
For many, electronic FOIA systems like FOIAXpress have been the solution.
FOIAXpress is currently used in over 180 government agencies and offices across the nation.