Sunday, January 6, 2008

A GOOD ACT FOR INDIVIDUAL PRIVACY!

Last year I wrote a column entitled "Private vs. Public, Where's The Line?" I concluded it by saying, "Let’s hope that our representatives do what’s necessary to ensure that we don’t become victims of technology or the valid need for public documents. Being a victim is not a good thing."

They did! Effective December 1, 2007 our General Assembly passed Session Law 2007-534 (House Bill 454):


AN ACT to protect the identity of individuals by authorizing the taking of a photograph of a person who is cited for a motor vehicle moving violation, who does not produce a valid drivers license upon the request of a law enforcement officer, and where the law enforcement officer has a reasonable suspicion regarding the true identity of the person, and to provide a cause of action for a person whose identifying information is published over objection.


This law adds to North Carolina's existing identity theft protection act by making it a violation of the act for any person to "knowingly broadcast or publish to the public on radio, television, cable television, in a writing of any kind, or on the Internet, the personal information of another with actual knowledge that the person whose personal information is disclosed has previously objected to any such disclosure."

Other details can be seen in the actual law. In my mind, it's very important for us that this law explicitly states that it can be enforced by individuals, rather than limiting the right to bring suit under the law to the state attorney general. Also, the North Carolina law includes a statutory damages provision, which addresses difficulties that individuals seem to experience when trying to show actual damages in cases in the past.

We can thank an individual named Glenn Hagele who lobbied for this specific law to help deal with the situation where an individual's personal information was made available on the Internet as a reprisal for some public statements amde by an individual. Without Glenn's work on the law, there is simply no reason to think it would exist. Also, there is growing organized pressure on to act to solve this problem.

Kudos to the members of the GA who voted for this and helped the law catch up with our technology!

3 comments:

JB said...

Thanks for sharing this. I never read a thing about it, but that's probably my fault. It'sgood to see things like this happening because there seems to be precious little privacy left anymore.

Anonymous said...

A good move. Do you happen to know anything about a burden to inform here? Does enforcement of this depend on the individual knowing they've been photographed and the image is intended for publication, without having been actively informed about it?

Priscilla Murphy (have mislaid my password for this at the moment so I'm "anonymous" for the day).

USAEYES said...

Glenn Hagele has published the social security numbers of his critics. See http://www.jackholladay.com/avoid_this_doctor.html for an example of his activity.