04-03Posted on Feb 9, 2004 in Formal Opinions
Opinion Letter No. 04-03
February 9, 2004
The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (“DBEDT”) asked the OIP if it can charge a requester for segregating information that a business has designated, with DBEDT’s concurrence, as proprietary and subject to withholding under the UIPA. The OIP responded that DBEDT can charge, assuming that the information segregated does indeed fall within an exception to disclosure under the UIPA.
DBEDT asked if, when a second person requests the same record, DBEDT can also charge the second requester for segregating the same information. If DBEDT still has an already-segregated copy of the record, it cannot charge the second requester.
DBEDT also asked if it can selectively disclose, to only Hawaii businesses, compiled information that does not identify specific businesses or include competitively sensitive information. In the absence of a statute authorizing selective disclosure, access to public records may not be restricted to only those requesters who intend to use the information for certain purposes.
Finally, DBEDT asked if it can selectively charge a requester the market value of requested information, and if not, would legislation be required to sell information at market value to a specific group of requesters. The OIP responded that unless an agency has specific statutory authority to sell information at market value, it may not do so. The UIPA permits only fees for search, review, and segregation functions and other lawful fees (such as for copies and postage).