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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request - Frequently Asked Questions

5.

How can I make an FOIA Request seeking information about another person?

Files relating to another person regarding a matter the disclosure of which would invade that person's privacy ordinarily will not be disclosed. For example, if you seek information that would show that someone else (including even your spouse or another member of your immediate family) has ever been the subject of a criminal investigation – or even was mentioned in a criminal file – you will be requested to provide either:

  • A statement by that other person, authorizing the release of the information to you, that has been signed by that person and either was witnessed by a notary or includes a declaration made under penalty of perjury (using the language quoted in the preceding paragraph); or
  • Evidence that the subject of your request is deceased, such as a death certificate, a newspaper obituary, or some comparable proof of death. Without proof of death or the subject's consent, in almost all cases the Department of Homeland Security will respond to a request made for information concerning another person's possible involvement in a law enforcement matter by advising that it will ‘neither confirm nor deny’ the existence of responsive records. Such law enforcement information about a living person is released without that person's consent only when no privacy interest would be invaded by disclosing the information, when the information is already public or required to be made public, or when there is such a strong public interest in the disclosure that it overrides the individual's privacy interest

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6.

What information should I include in my FOIA Request?

In making your request you should be as specific as possible with regard to names, dates, places, events, subjects, etc. In addition, if you want records about a court case, you should provide the title of the case, the court in which the case was filed, and the nature of the case. If known, you should include any file designations or descriptions for the records that you want. You do not have to give a requested record's name or title, but the more specific you are about the records or types of records that you want; the more likely it will be that the Department of Homeland Security will be able to locate those records.

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