View all text of Subpart C [§ 7.21 - § 7.29]

§ 7.23 - What limitations apply to disclosure?

(a) Policy. It is DOT policy to make its records available to the public to the greatest extent possible, in keeping with the spirit of FOIA. This includes releasing reasonably segregable and meaningful nonexempt information in a document from which exempt information is withheld.

(b) Statutory disclosure requirement. As provided in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3)(A), DOT makes reasonably described records available upon request from a member of the public, when the request is submitted in accordance with this subpart, except to the extent that the records contain information exempt from FOIA's mandate of disclosure as provided in 5 U.S.C. 552(b).

(c) Statutory exemptions. Exempted from FOIA's statutory disclosure requirement are matters that are:

(1) Specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy, and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order;

(2) Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;

(3) Specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, or Open Meetings Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), in that the statute:

(i) Requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, establishes particular criteria for withholding, or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld; or

(ii) Specifically allows withholding from release under FOIA by citation to 5 U.S.C. 552;

(4) Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

(5) Inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency, provided that the deliberative process privilege shall not apply to records created 25 years or more before the date on which the records were requested;

(6) Personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(7) Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information -

(i) Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings;

(ii) Would deprive a person of a right to a fair or an impartial adjudication;

(iii) Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(iv) Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, tribal, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source;

(v) Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or

(vi) Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual;

(8) Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; or

(9) Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.

(d) Application of exemptions. DOT shall withhold information pursuant to a statutory exemption only if:

(1) DOT reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by an exemption under paragraph (c) of this section; or

(2) Disclosure is prohibited by law or otherwise exempted from disclosure under paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

(e) Redacted information. DOT indicates the amount of information redacted from records released under the FOIA and the exemption(s) relied upon in redacting the information, at the place in the record where the redaction is made, when technically feasible and when doing so does not harm an interest protected by the exemption concerned.

(f) Non-confidentiality of requests. DOT releases the names of FOIA requesters and descriptions of the records they have sought, as shown on DOT FOIA logs, except to the extent that a statutory exemption authorizes or requires withholding of the log information.

[79 FR 16209, Mar. 25, 2014, as amended at 82 FR 21139, May 5, 2017; 82 FR 25740, June 5, 2017]