An FBI spokesperson told The Daily Dot that the final version of the website won’t ask for your phone number — apparently, the beta only asked for one so the feds could contact you in case something went wrong with the request you sent. You also don’t have to indicate your country of origin anymore. The spokesperson said it was only necessary to auto-populate the address fields. More importantly, the FBI will tweak the portal’s terms of service to allow you to send an unlimited number of requests, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
These changes definitely make eFOIPA a lot more usable, though email still would’ve been the better choice. As Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’ attorney Adam Marshall told The Daily Dot:
“I’m glad to hear they are lifting some of the restrictions that were put in place by the online portal. But I think there are still significant questions and issues that need to be answered and resolved. I think [email] is the most ubiquitous form of communication. And the government should be doing everything it can to make it easier for people to request information — not harder.”