Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Privacy Act, FOIA, public domain

Privacy Act and its limitations on releasing information about individuals.
“No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains,” with certain enumerated exceptions, such as situations covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b); 5 U.S.C. § 552

management must be careful to discuss what it did without going into detail about the specific history of individuals to which it applied what it did—unless the information is considered to be in the public domain or the agency first obtains permission in writing from those individuals

Tripp v. Department of Defense, 193 F. Supp. 2d 229, 236 (D.C. Dist. 2002) (holding that the names,
titles, and salaries of public employees are information generally in the public domain).

Long v. Office of Personnel Management, 692 F.3d 185, 192 (2nd Cir. 2012) (holding that when the work of an agency or position is sensitive in nature, there is a “cognizable privacy interest” that can warrant withholding employee names in the FOIA context).


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