If i don"t know what my representatives are doing how can i hold them to account. First, freedom of information (foi) or access to information (ati), the idea that citizens must have access to information gathered and held by governments about how they make policies, decisions and their implications. Access to government held information that can inform citizens about government actions and educate them to enable them to participate. Access to government information allows citizens on their own and through the media to hold elected officials to account for their decisions. The media uses access to information laws to produce investigative reports on government policy choices and outcomes. See the donovan article in the reading list. And there are increasingly government open data initiatives as well as on-line groups that build and share information datasets. Second, governments" efforts at safeguarding the private information they hold and overseeing the use of private information held by private organizations.