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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.

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

Before submitting a FOIA request, you are able to search publicly available information.

Census Bureau Resources

  • Census Bureau FOIA Library – Access FOIA records, including, FOIA and Congressional Correspondence logs, travel card records and other frequently requested topics. 
  • Frequently Requested Records – Access frequently requested records.
  • Data.census.gov – Access Census Bureau data, maps, visualizations, and learn more about the available Census Bureau data products.

Other Government Resources

  • FOIA.gov – The Federal government's comprehensive website about the Freedom of Information Act. 
  • Justice.gov/oip/doj-guide-freedom-information-act-0 – The Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy regularly develops and issues policy guidance to all agencies on proper implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.
  • OSEC.doc.gov/opog/foia/default.html – The Office of Privacy and Open Government, FOIA Program is responsible for the development and maintenance of Freedom of Information Act policies, procedures, and guidance throughout the Department of Commerce’s FOIA program.
  • Archives.gov/foia – The National Archives and Records Administration processes Freedom of Information Act requests for archival and operational records. 
  • OPM.gov/information-management/freedom-of-information-act – The Office of Personnel Management’s Freedom of Information Act website.  
  • NFC.usda.gov – The shared service provider for financial management services and human resources management services to Federal organizations.
  • Data.gov – The Federal government’s open data website.
  • Federalregister.gov – Each Federal workday, the OFR publishes the Federal Register, which contains current Presidential proclamations and Executive orders, Federal agency regulations having general applicability and legal effect, proposed agency rules, and documents required by statute to be published.
  • SAM.gov – The System for Award Management (SAM) is the Official U.S. Government.
  • USA.gov – The U.S. Government portal. It can help you navigate around the Federal government.
Page Last Revised - March 15, 2022
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