Public Records FAQ 4

Do individuals have a special right, in addition to their rights under the public records law, to inspect public records containing information about themselves?

Yes. Any individual or person authorized by an individual has a right to inspect any record containing “personally identifiable information pertaining to the individual” maintained by an authority. Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(1)(am). This right is in addition to the right of citizens to examine public records under sec. 19.35(1)(a), Stats.

However, the special right of a requester under sec. 19.35(1)(am) to inspect or copy records containing personally identifiable information about the requester does not apply to the following:

a. Any record collected or maintained in connection with the complaint, investigation or other circumstances that may lead to an enforcement action, administrative proceeding, arbitration proceeding, or court proceeding, or any record collected or maintained in connection with such action or proceeding. Sec. 19.35(1)(am)1., Stats.

b. Any record that, if disclosed, would endanger an individual's life or safety; identify a confidential informant; endanger the security of any state correctional institutions or the populations or staff of those institutions; or compromise the rehabilitation of any person in the custody of the department of corrections or detained in a jail. Sec. 19.35(1)(am)2., Stats.