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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Big victory could mean public right to any government-created database

A California appeals court ruled that Santa Clara County must make its geographic information system, which indicates real estate boundaries and other property data, available to the public. The county had denied the California First Amendment Coalition's request for a copy of the real estate parcel "basemap." The argument was that U.S. Homeland Security concerns and copyright protection preempted releasing the information in accordance with the California Public Records Act.
In a stunning victory for freedom of information advocates, a California appeals court has sustained a public right of access to a government database that makes possible highly accurate digital mapping.

Holding that Santa Clara County must make public its geographic information system (GIS) parcel “basemap,” which shows real estate parcel boundaries, appraisals, and other property data, a unanimous Court of Appeal rejected arguments that U.S. Homeland Security regulations and Federal Copyright protection trump the public’s right of access under the California Public Records Act.

More here.

More coverage: Homeland Security Act Does Not Shield County Land Data, Metropolitan News-Enterprise

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