FOI Daily Dose: Privacy exemption limits most FOIA requests

Privacy is the most frequently cited exemption for denying Freedom of Information Act requests, according to a study by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication.

The study compiled 15 years of annual FOIA  report data for 13 cabinet-level departments, excluding Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services because they mostly receive individual requests for personal records.

Of the nine exemptions that limit the free flow of information act, agencies used privacy exemptions more than 232,000 times last year, or 53 percent of the time, to deny requests.

The exemption has not been applied so broadly since the fiscal year of 2002 in the wake of Sept. 11.

The exemption is meant to protect personnel and medical flies, information that would constitute “a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” and law enforcement information that “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” according to the study.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Newest Posts

Tips on Writing a Digital Story August 1, 2015, 9:45 pm
Why Twitter’s concerns are journalists’ concerns July 29, 2015, 6:12 am
The flow of information: Reporting on water in the west July 28, 2015, 4:00 pm
Is Snapchat discovering a journalistic comeback? July 28, 2015, 2:29 am
Judging the Freedom of Information Act in environmental court July 27, 2015, 11:04 pm
It’s Alive: Code’s Supporting Documents Linked July 26, 2015, 8:13 pm
OU’s Young a winner July 24, 2015, 11:27 am

Copyright © 2007-2015 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ