Using Civic Technology to Monitor Freedom of Information in New Jersey

Abstract

Freedom of information (FOI) laws provide an important mechanism for citizens and researchers to study public policy issues & evaluate government transparency. This poster presents the OPRAmachine platform and research dataset, which is the first U.S.-based deployment of the open-source Alaveteli software for automating the FOI request process and collecting data on FOI requests submitted to authorities (mySociety Foundation, Inc. n.d.). Through the use of the website, data on over 20,000 requests made under New Jersey’s FOI law, the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), has been collected since 2017 until the present (Rozzi 2020). The Alaveteli platform has already been deployed throughout many countries at the national level, including the UK-based WhatDoTheyKnow. OPRAmachine builds upon past work in this field by specificically focusing on a state & local government in New Jersey and its political subdivisions and fills a gap left by a lack of data collection by official governmental sources to enable new research.

Publication
Poster session presented at 17th Research Data Alliance Plenary Meeting
Gavin C. Rozzi
Gavin C. Rozzi
Pushing the boundaries of data, technology & public policy

Gavin Rozzi is a data scientist from New Jersey. Gavin studies urban informatics, environmental factors affecting the spread of COVID-19 & public policy development.

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