Public Access to Information Suffers Under Coronavirus

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak which by some counts has infected more than 50 thousand people in the US, shops and restaurants are not the only operations shutting down. Across the country, local, state, and federal agencies have slowed their responses to public records requests to a crawl. While some agencies face tricky logistical challenges because of how records are kept, others have added new barriers that don’t seem directly related to the pandemic.

The FBI has stopped processing electronic records requests, reported BuzzFeed News; now, the bureau requires that requests be sent via postal mail.

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