The FOIA provides individuals with a statutory right of access to certain federal agency records. The FOIA requires agencies to disclose requested records unless they are protected from public disclosure by the FOIA. Congress included in the FOIA nine exemptions and three law enforcement exclusions to protect important interests such as national security, personal privacy, privileged communications, and law enforcement. The FOIA does not apply to records held by Congress, Federal Courts, state and local governments, private businesses, schools, private organizations, or private individuals.
A FOIA request is a request submitted to a federal agency asking for access to agency records on any topic. A FOIA request can generally be made by any person, to any federal agency, and only requires that requesters reasonably describe the records they are seeking and comply with agency regulations for making such requests.
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: