Protection of Personal Privacy Interests under the Freedom of Information Act
AIR FORCE ACADEMY COLORADO SPRINGS CO
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The Freedom of Information Act FOIA was established primarily to deter secrecy in government by guaranteeing a statutory right of access to government information however, societys interest in an open government sometimes conflicts with the individual right to privacy . These personal privacy interests are protected by two provisions of the FOIA Exemptions 6 and 7 C which concern personal and medical files and similar files and records or information complied for law enforcement purposes, respectively. This article addresses the right to privacy as it now exists under FOIA in light of the Supreme Courts decision in Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. In examining the FOIAs personal privacy protections, the article first outlines the legislative history of the FOIA to include a brief history of its passage, subsequent amendments, and statutory structure. The foundations of the individual right to privacy are discussed, followed by a detailed description of the threshold requirements for Exemptions 6 and 7 C. The article then explores the process presently employed by the courts in balancing the publics right to know against the individuals right to privacy.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations