Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

The Freedom of Information Law or FOIL, effective January 1, 1978, reaffirms your right to know how your government operates. It provides rights of access to records reflective of governmental decisions and policies that affect the lives of every New Yorker.

The law defines "agency" to include all units of state and local government in New York State, including state agencies, public corporations and authorities, as well as any other governmental entities performing a governmental function for the state or for one or more units of local government in the state.

The law defines "record" as "any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with or for an agency or the State Legislature, in any physical form whatsoever." It is clear that items such as tape recordings, microfilm and computer discs fall within the definition of "record." An agency is not required to create a new record or provide information in response to questions to comply with the law. However, the courts have held that an agency must provide records in the form requested if it has the ability to do so. For instance, if records are accessible on paper or on a computer tape or disk, the public may choose to obtain them either way.

The Committee on Open Government is responsible for overseeing and advising with regard to the Freedom of Information, Open Meetings and Personal Privacy Protection Laws. The Committee's website address is:

Under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), many records maintained by the Office of General Services are available for public review. Please be as specific as possible when requesting records, so that we may easily identify which records maintained by the Authority are responsive to your request.

The Open FOIL NY online request form, OGS's fillable FOIL request form, regulations for guidance regarding the processing of requests, information on the availability of records and right to appeal, and a current list, by subject matter, of all records maintained by the agency for public inspection and copying are available online through the links listed below: 

Open FOIL NY Online Form


Records Access Officer
Public Affairs Office
Corning Tower Building, 41st Floor
The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12242-0001