Two Court Cases: Disclosure of Residential Addresses in Petition and SSN in Land Records
Government privacy invasions
Disclosure of personal information can be a safety issue, as in the case of stalking victims and those who work at nonprofits.
Source: Mark J. Fitzgibbons, Op-Ed, The National Law Journal, September 27, 2010
… In Doe v. Reed, Washington Secretary of State, 130 S. Ct. 2811 (2010), the plaintiffs sought the U.S. Supreme Court‘s protection against disclosure of residential addresses. … Ballot-initiative petitions are filed with the secretary of state, who determined under Washington law that those are records subject to review by the public. Opponents of a ballot initiative to repeal the state’s domestic partnership law stated they would publish on the Internet the names and addresses of petition signers. Petition organizers claimed such disclosure violated the First Amendment because it exposed petition signers to threats, harassment and reprisal, and therefore has a chilling effect on the right to sign the petition. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 8 – 1, that the First Amendment does not prohibit the secretary’s determination that the petitions are public records …
In Ostergren v. Cuccinelli, nos. 09-1723, 09-1796 (4th Cir. July 26, 2010) … decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on Aug. 2, a privacy advocate … published online the Social Security numbers of Virginia public officials as a means to protest the commonwealth’s failure to redact that information from land records of citizens. Virginia sought to sanction her and enjoin publication, but the 4th Circuit held that the First Amendment protected such publication. …
For full text of the article, click here.
- Judge Blocks Release of Petition Signers’ Names in Supreme Court Gay Marriage-Related Case (legaltimes.typepad.com)
- Court Says Privacy Advocate May Publish Social Security Numbers (wired.com)
- Court OKs web posting of Social Security Numbers (washingtontimes.com)
- Fourth Circuit Decides First Amendment Trumps Social Security Number Privacy (abovethelaw.com)
- Interesting Fourth Circuit Free Speech vs. Information Privacy Case (volokh.com)
- Judge acts to release names of petitioners (theolympian.com)
Tags: 4th Circuit, addresses, commenwealth, Cuccinelli, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Land Records, Law, Location Privacy, News and Events, Ostegren, Privacy and Security, Public Policy and Regulation, Social Security Number, SSN, Supreme Court of the United States, United States, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, United States Secretary of State, Virginia, Washington
Dr. Lea Shanley is the founder and former co-Chair of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a vibrant community of 200 federal employees from more than 35 agencies. She is also a co-founding member of the Citizen Science Association. Dr. Shanley recently served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, where she helped to foster a culture of open innovation. Prior to this, she founded and directed the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, served in the US Senate as a Congressional Science Fellow, and worked with local and tribal communities to develop GIS-based decision support systems for city planning, natural resource management, coastal management, and disaster response through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog of links to relevant news, events, and reports, provided for educational purposes only. The opinions and views contained therein are those only of the authors of the original articles. These opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the editor of this blog or or associated organizations.
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