Tag Archive | Massachusetts

Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules ZIP Codes Are Definitely “Personal Identification Information”

by Erin Aures, Privacy Law Blog, April 1, 2013

In a recent ruling arising from certain certified questions in Tyler v. Michaels Stores, Inc., Civ. No. 11-10920-WGY D. Mass. Jan. 6, 2012, the Massachusetts Supreme Court interpreted “personal identification information” under Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 93, § 105a Section 105a to include a consumer’s ZIP code and determined that collecting such personal information is a violation of state privacy law for which the consumer can sue see slip opinion. By way of background, the plaintiff, Tyler, alleged she was making a credit card purchase at Michaels an arts and crafts retailer when a cashier asked her for her ZIP code. Tyler provided her ZIP code. Tyler alleged her ZIP code was later used by Michaels to find Tyler’s mailing address and telephone numbers and send her unwanted and unsolicited marketing materials. …

For full text of the analysis, visit Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules ZIP Codes Are Definitely “Personal Identification Information” | Privacy Law Blog.

 

Next generation Total Information Awareness? Software tracks people’s movements and behavior with social media

Software that tracks people on social media created by defence firm, by Ryan Gallagher, The Guardian, Feb 10, 2013

A multinational security firm has secretly developed software [named RIOT, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology] capable of tracking people’s movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites. A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an “extreme-scale analytics” system created by Raytheon, the world’s fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. …But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace. ….

For full text of the article, visit Software that tracks people on social media created by defence firm | World news | The Guardian.

 

From Public Records to Open Government: Access to Massachusetts Municipal Geographic Data

by Robert Goodspeed, URISA Journal 2011, Volume 23, No 2

Abstract: Increasingly, citizens are demanding access to raw data from governments to hold public officials accountable, look up facts, conduct analysis, or create innovative applications and services. Cities and towns create data using geographic information systems such as layers describing parcels, zoning, and infrastructure that are useful for a wide range of purposes. Through a public records request to all 351 Massachusetts municipalities, this paper investigates whether these data are accessible to citizens in practice. Some response was received by 78.6 percent of the municipalities. Two municipalities refused access to all electronic records. Many others charged fees ranging up to $453 or placed legal restrictions on the data through licensing that could chill or prohibit creative reuses of the information through emerging technologies. Other practical barriers limited public access to data, such as limited resources, government officials’ limited technical knowledge, and outsourcing to private vendors. A followup survey among municipalities that did not respond to the request was conducted to determine if they had GIS systems or data policies, and this information was collected for 80.3 percent of the municipalities. Finally, the paper discusses the legal, policy, and technical steps that can be taken by governments to move from a “public records” to an “open government” paradigm for transparency of government data. The policy recommendations for municipalities include publishing GIS data for free online and with minimal legal restrictions.

For full text of the article, click here.

From Public Access to Open Government: Access to GIS Data

 

From Public Records to Open Government: Access to Massachusetts Municipal Geographic Data

Robert Goodspeed, PhD Student, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Submitted for publication to URISA Journal, January 2011

ABSTRACT

Increasingly citizens are demanding access of raw data from governments to look up facts, hold them accountable, conduct analysis, or create innovative applications and services. Cities and towns create information for geographic information systems such as parcels, zoning, and infrastructure that are useful for a wide range of purposes. Through a public records request to all 351 Massachusetts municipalities, this paper investigates whether this data is accessible to citizens in practice. In an apparent violation of the law, two municipalities refused access to electronic records. Many others charged fees ranging up to $453 or placed burdensome legal restrictions on the data that could chill or prohibit creative reuses of the data through emerging technologies. Other practical barriers, such as limited technical knowledge or resources and outsourcing to private vendors, restricted public access to data. Most troubling, 23.2% of municipalities did not respond with 29 days, nearly three times the legally mandated 10-day response time. Finally, the paper discusses legal, policy, and technical steps that can be taken by governments to move from a “public records” to an “open government” paradigm for transparency of government data. The policy recommendations for municipalities include publishing GIS data for free online, and with minimal legal restrictions.

For full text of the article, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, click here.

 

NASCIO Releases Geospatial Governance Brief

 

NASCIO Geospatial Governance Brief

The National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) released a brief titled “Governance of Geospatial Resources: “Where’s the Data? Show Me” – Maximizing the Investment in State Geospatial Resources.” This issue brief is part of NASCIO’s series on Enterprise Governance and deals with the growing demand for GIS in every aspect of government decision making. This issue brief is available at: www.nascio.org/publications. For full text of the press release, visit: http://www.nascio.org/newsroom/pressReleases/080723.cfm

Fifty States Initiative Coordination Criteria

The National States Geographic Information Council Blog comments on the nine coordination criteria developed by NSGIC as part of the Fifty States Initiative, to which this NASIO brief adds seven additional issues, including privacy and security issues at the state policy level. Visit: http://www.nsgic.org/blog/2008/07/nascio-looks-at-geospatial-data-issues.html

Profiles of Leading Geospatial Governance Models

As part of a NSDI 50 States Initiative CAP Grant effort in Wisconsin, we examined leading geospatial governance models in eight other states and published a series of geospaital governance profiles: Arkansas, Arizona, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah .

These state geospatial governance profiles also may be found in total on FGDC’s website: http://www.fgdc.gov/grants/2006CAP/Category3/WI/

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