Thursday, May 29, 2008

Farm Bill To Address Privacy Issues?

Recently I posted a discussion on a Spatial Law case involving privacy and the federal Freedom of Information Act ( In that case the court determined that even though there was a substantial privacy interest with regards to spatial data collected by the Department of Agriculture, that it was outweighed by the public good obtained from the release of the data.

I recently became aware of some language in the conference report associated with H.R. 2419 "The Farm Bill" which would in effect prohibit the Department of Agriculture from disclosing such information except for a limited number of reasons. (See e.g. Section 1619(b)(2)(B) of the conference report)

I would be interested in learning more about why this language was included in the conference report. Specifically I wonder whether it was included to truly protect the privacy of all farmers or whether it was inserted because a handful of farmers are lobbying to limit the disclosure of sensitive information that may or may not be "private"

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