separate ▸ States vary widely from each other ▸ Fees can be charged, but governed by law ▸ Services exist to ﬁle open records requests for you ▸ Submission preferences vary: email, mail, forms ▸ Redaction is solution for commingled public/private data
person and the “worker” person. ▸ If you know a record exactly, describe it. ▸ Always cite the statute. Always keep a communication log. ▸ Be reasonable about response time. ▸ Copy someone who also might care.
Documents legally designated as secret 2. Internal agency rules and practices 3. Congress, President, Federal Courts, or protected by a speciﬁc law 4. Trade secrets, including ﬁnancial information 5. Internal deliberative memos 6. Personnel, medical or similar records that would invade privacy 7. Law enforcement records that would compromise privacy, fairness, etc. 8. Certain records on supervision of ﬁnancial institutions 9. Geological and geophysical information on gas and oil wells
agreeing to it. ▸ Actual cost of copies is allowed, including digital. ▸ Extra staff time for tech work can cost. ▸ Can charge fee to create or compile new records. ▸ Cost estimate can be appealed. ▸ Govt cannot charge to separate private data from public.
ﬁles. Some data public (name, salary). ▸ Privileged attorney communications. ▸ Some state and local income tax information. ▸ Trade secrets. ▸ Details of criminal investigations. SBI exempt totally. ▸ 911 database of phone numbers, locations, names.
request information under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. Section 552) (((STATE: North Carolina Public Records Statute (NCGS Section 132-1)))). I am requesting the following data, in whatever digital form these records may be kept. ‣ Data structure and dictionaries for the Medical Examiner Information System ‣ All publicly available tables and ﬁelds in the MEIS database ‣ All public records from 2006 to present Please label the tables. If possible, please provide them as delimited text ﬁles on the department's FTP site. I also am willing to provide an external storage device, if needed. I understand that there may be reasonable fees allowed by law. (((IF TRUE: I am a web developer who is seeking to enable citizens better access to public information. This request is not for a commercial use and I am requesting a waiver of fees. Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and my resulting web application will be made available to the general public.))) If you estimate that the fees will be more than $100, please inform me by email before fulﬁlling my request. If you take the position that these records are not subject to the open records law cited above, please provide a written explanation of the basis for your position, including the statute, regulation or other authority you relied on to reach that position. As required under FOIA, I look forward to hearing from you within 20 business days. (((STATE: I would appreciate a response by Oct. 15, 2016.))) Please contact me immediately if you have any questions about this request. I can be reached at 704-555-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely, Patsy Squire CC: Dept head; your attorney; head of institution; elected ofﬁcial
▸ Try to ﬁgure out what exists. ▸ Check to see if anyone else has it or part of it. ▸ Ask in writing, nicely and clearly. CC someone. ▸ Wait. Check back. Wait. Keep a communication log. ▸ Appeal or escalate.
contacts ▸ MuckRock. Free info plus paid service ▸ Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press ▸ U.S. Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. Section 552) ▸ North Carolina Public Records Statute (NCGS Section 132-1) ▸ State-by-state report from National Association of Counties ▸ Investigative Reporters and Editors guide ▸ NC Open Government Coalition and NC Media Law handbook ▸ Charlotte Observer databases and Raleigh News & Observer databases