新闻记者用它查明游说者造访白宫多少次。历史学家用它搜寻有关1963年肯尼迪（John F. Kennedy）总统遇刺的尚不被人知的材料。阴谋论理论家用它调查据说在新墨西哥州罗斯韦尔（Roswell, New Mexico）发生的一次外星人飞行器坠毁事件。
它，就是《信息自由法》（Freedom of Information Act ，简称“FOIA”）。如今这项有半个世纪历史的法律得到更新，从而让公众可以获得政府更多档案文件。
In victory for open government, U.S. updates disclosure law
Journalists have used it to find out how many times lobbyists have visited the White House. Historians have used it to search for undiscovered information about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Conspiracy theorists have used it to research a supposed crash of an alien spacecraft in Roswell, New Mexico.
It is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a half-century-old law now updated to give the public even more access to government documents and records.
The changes to FOIA that President Obama signed into law on June 30 will require that federal agencies consider releasing records under a “presumption of openness” standard, instead of presuming that the information is secret.
Under the amended law
a new website will be created to streamline and centralize information requests to any agency.
government agencies will face a 25-year deadline to release documents that shed light on how they make decisions.
agencies will be required proactively to disclose documents that are likely to be of interest to the public.
The Freedom of Information Act is one way people can hold officials accountable.
Before he signed the new changes into law during a brief Oval Office ceremony, Obama said the legislation would lock in some of the gains his administration already has made toward achieving a more open and responsive government.
“But I know that people haven’t always been satisfied with the speed with which they’re getting responses and requests,” Obama said. “Hopefully, this is going to help and be an important initiative for us to continue on the reform path.”