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 new york online form



Records Access Officer

Public Affairs Office

41st Floor, Corning Tower

Empire State Plaza

Albany, NY 12242


Right to Appeal

To the extent you believe you have been denied access to a record by the NYS Office of General Services, you have thirty (30) days from the date of the determination to take a written appeal. You may make an appeal by writing:

Commissioner of General Services

41st Floor, Corning Tower

Empire State Plaza

Albany, NY 12242


Availability of Records

Upon appointment records shall be available for public inspection and copying on weekdays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:45 the offices where the records are maintained or may reasonably be made available. Appointments can be made by contacting the Records Access Officer. Offices for inspection may include, but shall not be limited to, the following locations:


A Mayor Erastus Corning II Tower Building, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12242
B Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, 163 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027
C Sen. John H. Hughes State Office Building, 333 E. Washington Street, Syracuse, NY 13202
D Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501
E Binghamton State Office Building, 44 Hawley Street, Binghamton, NY 13901
F Eleanor Roosevelt State Office Building, 4 Burnett Blvd., Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
G Duryea State Office Building, Hauppauge, NY 11787
H Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601
I Henderson-Smith State Office Building, 107 Broadway, Hornell, NY 14843