From: Freeman, Robert (DOS)
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2011 12:48 PM
Subject:    RE: Subpoena for personal information


One of the statutes that you likely had no occasion to consider when dealing with local governments was the Personal Privacy Protection Law.  In brief, that statute applies to state agencies, and §96(1) forbids state agencies from disclosing personal information pertaining to a data subject, a natural person, except in specified circumstances.  One of those circumstances involves when "such disclosure is....(k) to any person pursuant to a court ordered subpoena or other compulsory legal process..."  Therefore, although the items to which you referred ordinarily would be withheld either pursuant to FOIL on the ground that disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, or under §96(1) of the Personal Privacy Protection Law, the exception appearing in paragraph (k) would authorize disclosure in response to a subpoena.

I hope that this is helpful.  If you'd like to discuss the issue, you know where I am.


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
Website: www.dos.ny.gov/coog/index/html