Public Access Opinion 14-008

Freedom of Information Act: “private information”

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 14-008
Date: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Photographs are not “private information” nor do they contain “biometric identifiers.

A police department denied a FOIA request for an officer’s basic headshot photographs. The department claimed the photographs were “private information” under FOIA because they contained “biometric identifiers.”

The PAC disagreed and ordered the photographs to be disclosed. FOIA does define “private information” to include “biometric identifiers.” But, the term “biometric identifiers” does not include the term “photographs.” Photographs are public records under FOIA and must be released when requested.

This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.