? ? Brenno de Winter
Nov 30 2010 ? Nov 30. In some countries, like the Netherlands, FOIA-requests can take a very long time. Some agencies have such slow systems that queries for recent digital documents can last up to two months, easily. When data is released a lot of crucial data is often withheld triggering a slow legal procedure. Fortunately for many documents there is a better, quicker way to get more and quicker info: file a FOIA in Norway.
Compared to many nations the Norwegian government is more transparent. For starters all government-documents can be found in an online register: (English description). Don't worry if you don't speak Norwegian, because Google Translate ( will help you out. Through an advanced search you can query for subject, party involved and of course the age of the documents. In principle all documents should be in the system, because it is a crime not to enter all information in the national document register.
As soon as you find something of interest you can easily add this to a basket like in any webshop or search for more related documents with the same casenumber. As soon as you are done you "check out" from the webshop by leaving some details, like your e-mail address. Of course the service is free. In some cases documents won't be released for restrictions in the FOIA, but in most cases they will. Sometimes documents may arrive in minutes but in other cases you'll have see a response within a few days. The law says they should answer within three days, but mileage may vary and sometimes you have to wait a week.
The good is that the documents are less redacted than in other countries and often help finding clues what to ask in slower operating FOIA-systems. For starters this is a easy way of getting access to information, understanding policy and getting a feeling for topics you want to research. Beginning is simple: take some time to understand the site, experiment and start searching. In less then ten minutes Per Anders Johansen from the Aftenposten learned me how to begin and my first Dutch stories are bound to be published soon on Norwegian FOIA-requests.

    * Wayward biweekly journal with news & tools for researchers and foi specialists *
    * Editor: Roger Vleugels - *
    * Donations are very welcome, see colophon *
    * Year 9 - No. 151 – Dec 1- 2010 *


[Back to page on Freedom of Information]    [Patients Rights in Europe]    [Human rights]    [Petitions]    [Back to Homepage]