West Virginia State Privacy Office

The Intersection of FOIA & Privacy

What personal information should be disclosed upon receipt of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request? Under FOIA, all writings owned or received by a public body are open to the public for inspection and copying, as long as the content or context relates to the official duties, responsibilities or obligations of a public body. So, how do we safeguard citizens' and employees' privacy and comply with FOIA at the same time?
WV Freedom of Information Act Handbook

There are limited exceptions to releasing information that is part of the public record. The exception for unreasonably invasive disclosure of personal information has been the subject of much legal debate. During his internship at the WV Health Care Authority, Zachary Walton, a West Virginia University law student, interpreted this exception to give the WV Executive Branch guidance on when disclosure of personal information would result in an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy. At the links below, you will find a legal memorandum exploring the West Virginia Supreme Court's decisions as well as an interactive tool to assist you in applying those decisions to your specific fact pattern.
Freedom of Information and the Protection of Individual Privacy

Interactive "Cline" Scale (Email sue.c.haga@wv.gov if you experience any problems with the link.)