I recently became aware that a web site, www.publiccontractors.com, openly publishes broad sets of contract data retrieved from government agencies across the US. [PublicContractors.com is owned by www.SmartProcure.us , which apparently sells that data to companies who want to get some leverage when negotiating their contracts.]
While investigating the issue,I have come to understand that this data is available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), through a process called "Public Records Requests".
From what I've seen, it looks like PublicContractors.com and/or SmartProcure made very broad requests (such as "give us all your contracts data for X number of years") and then resells that data. My questions are legal in nature and I understand that I am not going to get legal advice here. However, I was wondering if anyone had run into that situation already and had managed to prevent that data from being leaked out to commercial outfits and most importantly from being available in the open through a simple Google search.
I also have a few additional questions:
1. Even if a EULA prohibits disclosing financial information (such as prices) to third parties through a confidentiality clause, does the FOIA always supersede that clause when dealing with government agencies?
2. Assuming you can't prevent a government agency from disclosing that information (either because they are mandated by law or don't have the resources to investigate who is making those public records requests and for which purpose), are there any legal provisions that grant a businessprivacy rightsthat could be used to force companies such as SmartProcure to delete the information they hold about a business? I am asking the question, because it seems to me that most privacy laws concern individuals, not businesses.
Thanks in advance for any insight.
Thank you for your response, I definitely appreciate it. I should have clarified that, in my situation, I am dealing with local government agencies (or assimilated) such as local transportation agencies or state-funded universities and that those purchases are not done through an open bid, because the amounts are below the threshold where an open bid is required. Therefore, the information is not public by default and must indeed be requested by third parties in order to be disclosed to those third parties.
I will take a look at how SBA and SCORE can help here, and I appreciate the pointers!