This blog's readers know that the federal Freedom of Information Act and state open records laws create issues for governments in fulfilling their obligations to create transparency but also protect the properly protectable.
When it comes to trade secrets or competitively sensitive information the government obtains, the relevant FOIA exemption from disclosure is at 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4). “Exemption Four applies if a tripartite test is satisfied: (1) The information for which exemption is sought must be a trade secret or commercial or financial in character; (2) it must be obtained from a person; and (3) it must be privileged or confidential.” The major issue the appellate court was attempting to deal with with regard to the Bloomberg FOIA request was: "was the information Bloomberg sought (e.g., loan amounts, maturation dates, securities guaranteed) obtained from a person" -roughly speaking, from somebody else who is not the government? The Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that the information Bloomberg sought was not OBTAINED from a person, it was generated by the Federal Reserve in the guarantee process and therefore not exempt from disclosure under Exemption 4.
Well, now the Federal Reserve has printed and released 560 pages of e-mails and they are reportedly heavily redacted. Bloomberg, even in its reporting of the facts, appears steaming mad.
We'd imagine this one is going back to court again.