U.s. Forest Service Violated The Privacy Act

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ARGUMENT I. THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE VIOLATED THE PRIVACY ACT BY DISCLOSING PERSONNEL RECORDS THAT CONSITUTE A CLEARLY UNWARRANTED INVASION OF PERSONAL PRIVACY. Privacy matters, and Congress agreed: The Privacy Act’s purpose is “to provide certain safe guards against an invasion of personal privacy by requiring federal agencies . . . to . . . be subject to civil suit for any damages which . . . violates any individual’s rights under this act.” Law Review UGA (quoting another law review). Under 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(1)(D), an individual can bring a civil action against any agency that “fails to comply with any provision of this section.” 5 USC 552a. On the other hand, Congress also enacted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to open government agencies to public scrutiny by disclosing certain desired documents. see 5 USC 552. As a privacy safe guard, FOIA lays out various exemptions that prevent disclosure of certain documents. See 5 USC 552. Exemption 6 applies here. Based on the language of the provision, “personnel. . . and similar files” whose disclosure would constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion or Privacy” are exempt. 5 USC 552(b)(6). The U.S Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit Courts invoked a three-step-analysis to determine whether disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. First, the court begins with a threshold question: are the documents “personnel” or “similar” files? Second, assuming the documents satisfy the
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