43 CFR § 2.70 - What definitions apply to subparts A through I of this part?

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§ 2.70 What definitions apply to subparts A through I of this part?

For the purposes of subparts A through I of this part, the following definitions apply:

Bureau means any major component of the Department administering its own FOIA program. A list of these components is available at: http://www.doi.gov/foia/contacts.

Commercial interest means a commercial, trade, or profit interest as these terms are commonly understood. Your status as profitmaking or non-profitmaking is not the deciding factor in determining whether you have a commercial interest.

Commercial use means a use that furthers your commercial, trade or profit interests or that of the person on whose behalf the request is made.

Confidential information means trade secrets or commercial or financial information (that is privileged or confidential and obtained by the Department from a person) that may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA.

Department means the Department of the Interior.

Direct costs means those resources that the bureau expends in searching for and duplicating (and, in the case of commercial-use requests, reviewing) records to respond to a FOIA request. For example, direct costs include the salary of the employee performing the work (the basic rate of pay for the employee plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits) and the cost of operating duplicating machinery, such as photocopiers and scanners. Direct costs do not include overhead expenses such as the costs of space and of heating or lighting a facility.

Duplication means reproducing a copy of a record or of the information contained in it necessary to respond to a FOIA request. Copies can take the form of paper, audiovisual materials, or electronic records, among others.

Educational institution means any school that operates a program of scholarly research. In order to fall within this category, you must show that the request is authorized by and made under the auspices of, a qualifying institution and that the records are not sought for a commercial use, but rather are sought to further scholarly research. Teachers (if they demonstrate how the requested records will further their teaching, scholarly research, or production of scholarly works) and students (if they demonstrate how the requested records will further their coursework or other school-sponsored activities) may also qualify as an educational institution for the purposes of this definition.

Exceptional circumstances means a delay that does not result from a predictable workload of requests (unless the bureau demonstrates reasonable progress in reducing its backlog of pending requests).

Exempt means the record in question, or a portion thereof, is not subject to disclosure due to one or more of the FOIA's nine statutory exemptions, found at 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1)-(9).

Exemption means one or more of the FOIA's nine statutory exemptions, found at 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1)-(9).

Expedited processing means giving a FOIA request priority and processing it ahead of other requests pending in the bureau because you have shown a compelling need for the records.

Fee category means one of the four categories, discussed in §§ 2.38 and 2.39, that agencies place you in for the purpose of determining whether you will be charged fees for search, review, and duplication.

FOIA means the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended.

FOIA libraries means a physical or electronic compilation of records required to be made available to the public for inspection and copying under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2). It also includes a physical or electronic compilation of records that the bureau, at its discretion, makes available to the public for inspection and copying.

Frequently requested records means records that have been released to any person in response to a FOIA request and that have been requested, or that the bureau anticipates will be requested, at least two more times under the FOIA.

Multitrack processing means placing simple requests, requiring relatively minimal review, in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests in one or more other tracks. Requests in each track are ordinarily processed on a first-in/first-out basis, but other factors, such as litigation, may affect the sequence and/or timing of processing.

Noncommercial scientific institution means an institution that is not operated for commerce, trade or profit, and that is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry. To be in this category, you must show that the request is authorized by and is made under the auspices of a qualifying institution and that the records are not sought for a commercial use but are sought to further scientific research.

OMB Fee Guidelines means the Uniform Freedom of Information Fee Schedule and Guidelines published by the Office of Management and Budget at 52 FR 10012 (Mar. 27, 1987).

Published means, for the purposes of § 2.69 of this subpart only, when:

(1) Research findings are published in a peer-reviewed scientific or technical journal; or

(2) A Federal agency publicly and officially cites the research findings in support of an agency action that has the force and effect of law.

Recipient means, for the purposes of § 2.69 of this subpart only, an organization receiving financial assistance directly from Federal awarding agencies to carry out a project or program. The term includes public and private institutions of higher education, public and private hospitals, and other quasi-public and private non-profit organizations. The term may include commercial organizations, foreign or international organizations (such as agencies of the United Nations) which are recipients, sub recipients, or contractors or subcontractors of recipients or sub recipients at the discretion of the Federal awarding agency. The term does not include government-owned contractor-operated facilities or research centers providing continued support for mission-oriented, large-scale programs that are government-owned or controlled, or are designated as federally-funded research and development centers.

Record means an agency record that is either created or obtained by an agency and is under agency possession and control at the time of the FOIA request, or is maintained by an entity under Government contract for the purposes of records management.

Representative of the news media means any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. The term news as used in this definition means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Simply distributing copies of released records, electronically or otherwise, does not qualify as using editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work. Examples of news media entities are newspapers, television, Web sites, or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large, and publishers of periodicals (but only if such entities qualify as disseminators of news) who make their products available for purchase by or subscription by or free distribution to the general public. These examples are not all inclusive. As methods of news delivery evolve, alternative representatives of news media may come into being. A freelance journalist will qualify as a news-media entity if he or she can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that entity, whether or not the journalist is actually employed by that entity (for example, a publication contract would present a solid basis for such an expectation).

Research data means, for the purposes of § 2.69 of this subpart only, the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings, but not any of the following: preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, or communications with colleagues. The term recorded as used in this definition excludes physical objects (e.g., laboratory samples). Research data also do not include:

(1) Trade secrets, commercial information, materials necessary to be held confidential by a researcher until they are published, or similar information which is protected under law; and

(2) Personnel and medical information and similar information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, such as information that could be used to identify a particular person in a research study.

Review means the examination of a record located in response to a request to determine whether any portion of it is exempt from disclosure. Review time includes processing any record for disclosure, such as doing all that is necessary to prepare the record for disclosure, including the process of redacting the record and marking the appropriate exemptions. Review time also includes time spent both obtaining and considering any formal objection to disclosure made by a confidential information submitter under subpart G of this part, but it excludes time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of FOIA exemptions.

Search means the process of looking for and retrieving records responsive to a request. Search time includes page-by-page or line-by-line identification of information within records; and the reasonable efforts expended to locate and retrieve electronic records.

Submitter means any person or entity outside the Federal Government from whom the Department obtains confidential information, directly or indirectly. The term includes, but is not limited to individuals, corporations, and state, local, tribal, and foreign governments.

Unusual circumstances means the need to search for and collect requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request; the need to search for, collect, and examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or the need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency, or among two or more components of the Department, having a substantial interest in the determination of the request.

Workday means a regular Federal workday. It excludes Saturdays, Sundays, or Federal legal public holidays. Items arriving or delivered after 5 p.m. Eastern Time will be deemed received on the next workday.

You means a person requesting records, or filing an appeal, under the FOIA.

[77 FR 76906, Dec. 31, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 11131, Mar. 3, 2016; 84 FR 61829, Nov. 14, 2019]

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