Welcome to MuckRock's Freedom of Information Act appeal guide!

Each entry provides background and context about an exemption to the public records laws in all fifty states, as well as federal FOIA. Read more about United States of America's public records law or explore all our expert FOIA guides. Have a public records appeal or information on an exemption we should include? Consider sharing your knowledge with everyone by donating your FOIA appeal language.


Also known as the privacy exemption.

This guide is for informational purposes only, is general in nature, and is not legal opinion nor legal advice regarding any specific issue or factual circumstance.

5 U.S.C. ยง 552(b)(6), Information involving matters of personal privacy, such as personnel and medical files

Example Appeals

Situations in which the subject is over 100 years old.

No proof of death is required if an individual is over 100 years old.

A deceased public figure

This is a public figure whose death was widely publicized.

A living person who has given permission on the proper form.

I have attached the permission form.

Proper Use

Living individuals who haven’t given you permission

Improper Use

Any deceased

People who have appropriately given permission

Government employees (with certain exceptions)