From: Freeman, Robert (DOS)
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2011 12:29 PM
Subject:    solicitation re FOIL

I have received your letter concerning the meaning of the term “solicitation” as it appears in
§89(2)(b)(iii) of the Freedom of Information Law.  That provision indicates that a list of names and
addresses may be withheld on the ground that disclosure would constitute “an unwarranted invasion
of personal privacy” when the list “would be used for solicitation or fund-raising purposes.”  You asked
whether an attempt “to reach out to vendors for statistical survey purposes….would…be considered a
form of solicitation.”

In this regard, the provision in question involves “personal” privacy, i.e., the protection of privacy as it
relates to natural persons.  Further, I believe that it involves direct contact with natural persons at their
home addresses.  Vendors are entities or persons acting in a business capacity.  If that is so, I do not
believe that the information at issue would be “personal” or that the exception authorizing a denial of
access would be applicable.

I hope that the foregoing serves to clarify your understanding and that I have been of assistance.

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
Committee on Open Government
Department of State
One Commerce Plaza
Suite 650
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231
Phone:  (518)474-2518
Fax: (518)474-1927