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Page Title: Public Interest
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General,  200  Stovall  Street,  Alexandria,  Virginia 22332-2400, and the requester so notified. .  Mishap  investigation  reports—Requests  should be sent to Commander, Naval Safety Center, Naval Air Station,  Norfolk,  Virginia  23511-5796,  and  the  re- quester  so  notified. Misdirected/misaddressed  requests  will  be promptly readdressed and sent to the cognizant or origi- nating  activity  for  action  and  the  requester  so  notified. Time  Limits The  responsible  naval  activity  has  10  working  days from receipt to respond to an FOIA request, excluding weekends and holidays. If the naval activity cannot respond within 10 days, it may inform the requester of the reasons for the delay, that the delay may be treated as an initial denial of the request, and the requester will be  informed  of  the  appeal  rights.  This  is  considered  a formal extension of time. The activity also may negoti- ate an informal extension of time with the requester that is  mutually  agreeable. Exemptions A  naval  record  maybe  withheld  from  disclosure  if exempt.  For  additional  guidance  on  exemptions,  refer to  SECNAVINST  5720.42E. Public Interest The public interest to be considered under the FOIA is the public’s interest in obtaining official information that  sheds  light  on  the  agency’s  performance  of  its statutory duties. In the typical case in which one private citizen is seeking information about another, the re- quester does not intend to discover anything about the conduct of the agency that has possession of the records, and a response to the request would not shed any light on the conduct of the government agency or official. In such a case where no FOIA-type public interest exists, release of any private information about an individual would  constitute  a  clearly  unwarranted  invasion  of  per- sonal privacy. In evaluating the public interest apparent in release of the requested records, neither the identity of the requester nor the purpose for desiring the request is relevant. Privacy Interest A  privacy  interest  may  exist  in  personal  informa- tion  even  though  the  information  has  been  made available to the general public at some place and time. If personal information is not freely available from sources other than the federal government, the person to whom that information pertains has a privacy interest in its nondisclosure. Often, the very fact that the federal government expended funds to prepare, index, and maintain records containing personal information and the fact the requester invokes the FOIA to obtain the private information indicates that the information is not freely  available. Mailing Lists Most naval activities receive FOIA requests for mailing lists—names and home addresses or names and duty addresses. Requests for mailing lists of names and home  addresses  should  be  denied  as  a  clearly  unwar- ranted invasion of personal privacy. An FOIA request for a list of names and duty addresses of members attached to units that are stationed in foreign territories, routinely  deployable,  or  sensitive  must  be  denied  as  a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Dis- closure is a security threat to those members because it reveals  information  about  their  involvement  in  military actions, the type of naval unit, and their presence or absence  from  their  households.  Release  aids  the  target- ing of members and their families by terrorists and other persons opposed to the national policy. Lists of names and  duty  addresses,  not  covered  by  the  previous  policy, are not exempt. Nonjudicial  Punishment  Results Information on nonjudicial punishment will not normally be released under the FOIA. The privacy interest  of  the  member  must  be  balanced  against  the public  interest  of  the  information.  Disclosure  should  be made when the events leading to the nonjudicial pun- ishment are particularly newsworthy or the case in- volves a senior official abusing the public trust through office-related  misconduct  such  as  embezzlement,  fraud, or misuse of government property. PRIVACY ACT The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C.  $ 552a, applies to docu- ments and records in a system of records maintained by an  agency  from  which  information  is  retrieved  by  the person’s name or other personal identifier such as a social  security  number.  The  Privacy  Act  balances  the government’s  need  to  maintain  information  about 1-13

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