United States

Name of law: Freedom of Information Act First adopted: 1966 Last modified: 2016-06 RTI Rating last updated: 2016-08


Overall, the USA is a good example of a country where practice outstrips the legislative framework and it is quite possible that the RTI Rating score undervalues the true openness of the United States government. Nonetheless, there are significant problems with the USA's access regime which negatively impact the right to information in that country. For instance, the exceptions are in many instances not harm tested and there is only a very limited public interest override. The United States also lacks a specialised administrative appeals body and, while American courts have been relatively robust in defending the right to information, they cannot do the job as effectively or expeditiously as an independent appeals body.