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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement. The exemptions commonly used at the U.S. Census bureau include but are not limited to:

  • Internal agency rules and practices
  • Information that is prohibited from disclosure by law
  • Trade secrets and other confidential business information
  • Inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges
  • Information involving matters of personal privacy

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act establishes a code of fair information practices that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies. The Privacy Act: 

  • Allows individuals to request access to their own personal records.
  • Allows individuals to seek correction or amendment of federally maintained records that are inaccurate, incomplete, untimely.
  • Prohibits the disclosure of a record about an individual from a system of records without the written consent of the individual. 

Navigate the tabs below to submit a Privacy Act Request, a FOIA Request, or explore the resources available.

FOIA and Privacy Act Videos
  • Search Available Records
  • Submit a FOIA Request
  • Submit a Privacy Request
  • FOIA by the Numbers
  • FOIA and Privacy Act Videos
FOIA and Privacy Act Videos

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

You can learn more about the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act by watching the videos below.  

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act (PA)

Learn about the differences between a Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act request and how to submit a request for each.

FOIA and Privacy Request Process

Learn about the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act request processes.



Requester Appeals Rights

The importance of the Appeals process and how it works.

Requester Fees and Expedited Processing

An overview on how and why fee charges apply to certain FOIA requests.


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