eDiscovery Daily Blog

Private and Privileged Data: Public Records and FOIA Requests

By:  Julia Romero-Peter, Esq

Information requested from a government agency through a local public records request or the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), may be considered private, personally identifiable information (PII) or privileged. These designations can apply in an ongoing investigation when personal information about an individual is disclosed.  And, in some cases, these designations can be appealed.

What Is Private and Privileged Information?

Private information considered personal in nature can be designated as PII. This can include medical records, financial information, or personal correspondence. Private information is typically exempt from public disclosure laws meaning, government agencies are not required to release such data in a public records request.

Privileged information is not subject to disclosure under the law. Examples of this can include attorney-client privilege, work product, matters of national security, or data related to an ongoing criminal investigation. Privileged information is typically exempt from public disclosure laws, which again, means government agencies are not required to release it in response to a public records request.

If the data requested contains private, privileged information, it may be redacted before being released to a requesting party to prevent the disclosure of national security information, for example.

Tools to Prepare Data for a Public or FOIA Request

CloudNine’s cloud-based solutions can help you locate relevant information for a public record or FOIA request.  CloudNine’s simplified review automation platform can help you manage, review, classify, redact, and prepare productions among all types of digital information. Your team can optimize your workflow and analyze data with precision using the CloudNine Suite, which includes CloudNine ESi Analyst —  the industry’s only investigation platform built and prepared to handle today’s modern data types, such as chat, text, social media, geotracking and more.

To see CloudNine software in action and learn how to save time and costs with an integrated, cloud-based review platform, contact us to schedule a consultation today.


To learn about the rise of modern data including social media, SMS, geolocation and corporate chat applications such as Slack and Teams, or click the link to request our newest eBook:  Modern Data Blueprint: Including All Data Sources in Your eDiscovery