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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Presumption may change from openness to secrecy in Conn.

A proposal by Connecticut's Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz would severely undermine the state's FOI laws, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported. The span of government records that can be exempted from public disclosure would expand from personnel and medical files to include "documents, materials, photographs, videos, recordings or other tangible objects." Plus, the amendments "presume privacy first," dictating that "the public agency shall not disclose the requested records unless ordered to do so by the Freedom of Information Act."
Connecticut's Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz has proposed turning Freedom of Information laws upside down — sweeping changes that would eviscerate the public's right-to-know laws in an ill-advised, ill-conceived attempt to protect crime victims.

She has proposed expanding the number of government recordsexempted from public disclosure, which now includes personnel and medical files, to include "documents, materials, photographs, videos, recordings or other tangible objects." Making these things public would be considered a punishable invasion of personal privacy.

I'm not sure what she means by a "tangible object," but let's take "recordings" for instance. Let's say there was a bank robbery gone bad where people were shot and injured and one person died. And there was a question that if help had arrived earlier, a life might have been saved. Relatives ask for the impounded bank videos and 911 tapes to try and learn when and how emergency crews got to the scene.
More here.

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