EPA Hears from Ag Groups on February Release of Personal Data

In response to the release of personal information on thousands of livestock and poultry producers - the National Pork Producers Council and other agricultural organizations have requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency take steps to prevent such a release in the future. They are asking EPA to review data that might include personal information before releasing it, to retrieve the data released and to agree that the information will not be posted to its website or distributed in any form. The groups also asked that the agency obtain assurances from the recipients of the information that they won't release or distribute the private data of farmers.

EPA released raw data from farms in 30 states that included - in some instances - home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses - to several activist groups in February. The groups - including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earth Justice and the Pew Charitable Trusts had filed Freedom of Information Act requests. According to a letter the agricultural organizations sent to EPA - a review of the release found that the agency's actions were not consistent with its own policies or its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act - and violated the Privacy Act of 1974.

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