Summary: S.2035 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (10/22/2007)

Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 - (Sec. 2) Prohibits a federal entity (an entity or employee of the judicial or executive branch or an administrative agency) from compelling a covered person to testify or produce any document relating to protected information unless a court makes specified determinations by a preponderance of the evidence, including that all reasonable alternative sources have been exhausted, that the testimony or document sought is essential, and that nondisclosure would be contrary to the public interest, taking into account both the public interest in compelling disclosure and the public interest in gathering news and maintaining the free flow of information.

Defines "covered person" as a person engaged in journalism, including their supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate. Excludes from the definition foreign powers and their agents and certain terrorist organizations and individuals.

Defines "protected information" as information or records a covered person obtained as part of engaging in journalism on a promise of confidentiality.

Requires the content of compelled testimony or documents to be limited and narrowly tailored.

(Sec. 3) Exempts any information or item obtained as the result of the eyewitness observations of alleged criminal conduct or commitment of alleged criminal or tortious conduct by the covered person.

(Sec. 4) Exempts protected information that is reasonably necessary to stop, prevent, or mitigate a specific case of death, kidnapping, or substantial bodily harm.

(Sec. 5) Exempts any protected information that a federal court has found by a preponderance of the evidence would assist in preventing an act of terrorism, or other significant and articulable harm to national security that would outweigh the public interest in news gathering and maintaining a free flow of information to citizens.

(Sec. 6) Applies this Act to communications service providers with regard to: (1) a communication to which a covered person is a party; (2) any document relating to such a communication; or (3) the contents of such a communication. Sets forth notice requirements. Permits a court to delay notice to a covered person upon determining that such notice would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of a criminal investigation.

(Sec. 7) Declares that this Act does not supersede, dilute, or preclude any law or court decision compelling or not compelling disclosure by a covered person or communications service provider of information identifying a source who provided information without a confidentiality promise made as part of engaging in journalism or records, other information, or contents of a communication obtained without a confidentiality promise.