March 18, 2011
Something to Think About as 2011's Sunshine Week Comes to a Close: How Statutes Are Used to Keep Government Information Exempt from FOIA Requests
ProPublica has created an interactive database that shows all of the Freedom of Information Act exemptions used in 2008-2009 and how they were used. See FOIA Eyes Only: How Buried Statutes Are Keeping Information Secret and ProPublica's database.
In Waiting for Freedom of Information: Some Progress, The Sunshine in Government Initiative provides an analysis which compares what 29 agencies reported in 2009 and 2008 and shows slow but significant improvements in the way agencies process FOIA requests. But (and quoting for from the article):
The data for 2009 should provide caution to optimists who hope that the White House efforts to push federal agencies towards greater transparency will yield quick results. It also shows a danger in reforming FOIA. The government scored some wins. Agencies made more full and partial releases overall. Federal entities also granted more disclosures when requesters appealed, but requesters had to wait longer for their appeals. Fixing the challenges the public faces when using FOIA cannot be zero-sum.