Supreme Court rules against newspaper over information request, giving confidentiality win to businesses

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The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 6-3 against a newspaper seeking records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on stores' financial data, finding that sharing the business data could harm the companies.

The Argus Leader in South Dakota had filed a FOIA request with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking for stores' redemption data on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The USDA fulfilled part of the paper's FOIA request by giving them the names and addresses of the stores, but declined to provide the SNAP data under Exemption 4 of FOIA, which blocks agencies from handing over "trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential."

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