A FOIA requester sought information about certain properties,
including unit addresses and whether the units were occupied or vacant. The
public body disclosed responsive records, but partly redacted street addresses
for vacant units pursuant to Section 7(1)(v) of FOIA, asserting that disclosing
the full street addresses would threaten community safety and make the
buildings targets for squatters and other illegal activity.

After the requestor submitted a
request for review with the Public Accessor Counselor (PAC), the PAC concluded that public body improperly redacted
vacant unit street addresses under FOIA. PAC
Op. 24-008

The PAC determined that the exemption contained in Section
7(1)(v) of FOIA narrowly authorizes redacting records that consist of or depict (1) existing
vulnerability assessments, security measures, or response policies or plans,
(2) that are created for the purpose of identifying, preventing, or responding
to potential attacks on a community or its infrastructure, and (3) when
disclosing the vulnerability assessment, security measure, or response policy
or plan could reasonably be expected to expose the vulnerability or jeopardize
the effectiveness of the measures, policies, or plans, or the safety of the
personnel who implement them or the public.

Although the public body argued
it redacted street addresses as a security measure to protect its vacant
properties, the PAC disagreed with the scope of the public body’s redactions, finding that the street addresses for vacant public
housing units did not qualify as existing vulnerability assessments,
security measures, or response policies or plans to justify redaction under this FOIA exemption.

Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink