Providing Consent

  Repeat OGIS customers may wonder why we sometimes ask them to provide consent to discuss their requests with agencies and other times we don’t. We recently contacted a requester whose consent we had asked for a few weeks earlier and told her, in essence: just kidding, we really don’t need your consent. So why … Continue reading Providing Consent

Death breathes new life into some records

We’ve written before about the careful balancing act that Federal agencies must perform when they consider requests for records that contain information about an individual other than the requester—those who work for the government and those who don’t. In most cases, such third-party information will be withheld under Exemption 6 (and possibly Exemption 7(C) if … Continue reading Death breathes new life into some records

Professionalizing the FOIA Profession: The 0306 Government Information Specialist Job Series

Those of us in the FOIA and Privacy fields have long desired to “professionalize” the Government information access field. Traditionally, FOIA and Privacy professionals in the Federal government have had no consistent job titles or descriptions and no clear career path; instead, agencies have taken a patchwork approach, squeezing FOIA and Privacy professionals into sometimes … Continue reading Professionalizing the FOIA Profession: The 0306 Government Information Specialist Job Series

Reconciling FOIA and the Privacy Act

When you request records about yourself from the Federal government, agencies apply both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act) to grant the most access possible. FOIA and the Privacy Act have different purposes. FOIA provides the public with a right of access to government records while the … Continue reading Reconciling FOIA and the Privacy Act

Who has the mojo, baby?

We at OGIS are always looking for ways to streamline our procedures and we’ve encouraged your input. This time is no different as we seek your support in ginning up some mojo for an OGIS routine use! Yes, an OGIS routine use, as in a Privacy Act system of records routine use. Without getting too technical (or … Continue reading Who has the mojo, baby?

The Intersection of FOIA Street and Privacy Act Lane

Both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act contain provisions that grant a right of access to Federal records. FOIA applies to records of executive branch agencies on potentially any subject. The Privacy Act applies only to agencies’ records which contain information about individuals that are maintained in a “system of records,” meaning those … Continue reading The Intersection of FOIA Street and Privacy Act Lane

OGIS Case Study #1 – “I am pretty sure the Government has a file on me”

Many people believe that federal law enforcement agencies have some kind of investigatory file on them. The truth is that very few people have been investigated by an agency such as the FBI, but that doesn’t stop many people from requesting their own records from federal law enforcement agencies.  (When an individual requests access to … Continue reading OGIS Case Study #1 – “I am pretty sure the Government has a file on me”