Freedom of Information

What Does Freedom of Information Mean?

Freedom of information refers to a citizen’s right to access information that is held by the state. In many countries, this freedom is supported as a constitutional right.


In the United States, the Freedom of Information Act allows for the disclosure of government documents and previously unreleased information that falls under the U.S. government’s control. This act was amended in 1996 to include the Electronic Freedom of Information Act, which states that government agencies must make certain types of records electronically available to the public. This is designed to broaden access to government information.

Techopedia Explains Freedom of Information

Freedom of information was established for transparency, government accountability, education and general public protection against mismanagement and corruption. More than 70 countries with government representation approved the original freedom of information legislation.

Related human rights include freedom of expression, data protection (privacy), freedom of association and right to development.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…