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How Do I Find Out What Information is Subject to FOIA Requests

What Can I Obtain with a FOIA Request?

Under the FOIA and the FCC's implementing rules, you are allowed to obtain copies of FCC records unless the records contain information that is exempt under the FOIA from mandatory disclosure. Section 552(b) of the FOIA contains nine types of records which are routinely exempt from disclosure under the FOIA:

  • Records classified national defense or foreign policy materials, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1);
  • Internal personnel rules and agency practices, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(2);
  • Information specifically exempted from disclosure by another statute, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3);
  • Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential, 5 U.S.C § 552(b)(4);
  • Inter- or intra-agency memoranda or letters which would not be available to a party in litigation with the agency, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5);
  • Personnel, medical and similar files, disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6);
  • Records compiled for law enforcement purposes, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7);
  • Records relating to the examination, operations, or condition of financial institutions, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(8); and
  • Oil well data, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (b)(9).

Even if a record falls within one of these FOIA exemptions, the FCC may, in some circumstances, release the records, depending upon the exemption at issue and the circumstances of the FOIA request.

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