Editor's Note

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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Utah bill to strengthen privacy protection on records gets revised

Utah citizens can argue that the public benefit in releasing a private or protected record outweighs the reasons for closing it. The new version of this bill requires those arguing for the release of "records that would jeopardize the life and safety of an individual" provide "clear and convincing evidence for disclosure." The requestor only has to prove by a "preponderance of the evidence -- or slightly more than 50 percent -- that the records should be made public" for seven other categories of private records, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

A bill that would restrict public access to some government records, cleared the Senate Government Operations Committee on Tuesday after significant changes were made.

"The measure originally sought to prevent the balancing test" weighing public access vs. privacy interests, said Jeff Hunt, an attorney representing the Utah Media Coalition. The coalition initially opposed HB122, which is sponsored by Rep. Douglas Aagard, R-Kaysville, and backed by state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

When a government record is classified as protected or private, someone can argue that the public benefit of disclosing the information outweighs the need for privacy.

More here.

No comments: