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Thread: Action Item on public records privacy from today's VCDL VA-ALERT

  1. #1
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    May 2006
    Fairfax County, Virginia, USA

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    20. Gasp! Roanoke Times agrees with VCDL on SSN privacy measure for
    gun owner and sportsmen's records!

    Last General Assembly session VCDL supported HB 2821 and SB 819,
    patroned by Delegate Mark Sickles (D - Fairfax County) and Senator
    Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax County), respectively, to create some
    privacy exemptions in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
    for certain sensitive personal information, including at a minimum,
    Social Security Numbers (SSNs).

    Unfortunately these bills were tabled by the FOIA subcommittee in
    both chambers for "further study."

    Right right now, if a stranger asks any state or local government
    agency for any of a number of types of government record containing
    your or a family member's SSN, such as a concealed handgun permit, or
    hunting, fishing, or boating records, that government agency MUST
    release the record and may not remove the SSN before doing so!

    One would think this is a no-brainer, but after months of studying
    this issue, the Joint Subcommittees of the Virginia Freedom of
    Information Advisory Council (FOIA Council) and Joint Commission on
    Technology and Science (JCOTS) issued a press release last week
    stating that instead of creating an SSN exemption in FOIA, they are
    merely going to recommend a small tweaking of state law to make it a
    little bit harder for government to collect SSNs in the future.

    Huh? What about privacy for all the records already held by
    government? And those SSNs yet to still be collected?

    And now comes, GASP, the [anti-gun] Roanoke Times with some common
    sense in an Editorial adeptly entitled "###-##-#### is enough":


    "A legislative subcommittee has been studying the issue, too, and
    concluded the best way to tackle the problem is to limit the amount
    of personal information government collects about citizens in the
    first place.

    If government only rarely collects Social Security numbers, there is
    less pressure for altering the FOIA law.

    Sounds good, but why not do both? Instruct agencies and local
    government to gather Social Security numbers only when absolutely
    necessary and require them to redact those numbers when responding to
    FOIA requests."

    Action Item: Many of the members of the joint subcommittees of JCOTS
    and FOIA Council are appointed but are not elected officials - let's
    let the 4 elected officials on this committee hear a little VCDL
    member thunder:

    Suggested Message:


    SUBJECT: No more study - its time for an SSN exemption in VA's FOIA!

    Dear Legislators:

    I have read that you are members of a study panel regarding Social
    Security Number (SSN) privacy and are considering punting again on
    the issue of creating a SSN exemption in Virginia's FOIA.

    Do not waste any more time with a "study," but move forward with a solution!

    Virginia state and local agencies are currently helpless without an
    SSN exemption in the state FOIA, thus putting important gun owner and
    sportsmen related records at risk to snooping, identity theft, and/or
    other criminal activity through FOIA requests.

    The federal government and many states already have an SSN exemption
    in their FOIA. Virginia should too.



  2. #2
    Regular Member sccrref's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Virginia Beach, VA, , USA

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    Done. Sent to all four.

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