Private facts

Comments to the Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner

April 27, 2018

The Reporters Committee submitted comments on behalf of a coalition of news media organizations to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) in response to its draft position paper on online reputation, which argues that Canadian privacy law essentially incorporates the "right to be forgotten." RCFP's comments argue that the position paper should clarify that websites performing a journalistic function are exempt from any takedown obligations, and that OPC's all-or-northing approach in finding that search engines never perform a journalistic function (and thus are never exempt from de-indexing obligations) would have unintended consequences.

Comments to the Canadian Privacy Commissioner

April 28, 2016

The Reporters Committee and other news organizations submitted comments to the Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner, urging it not to consider adopting a "right to be forgotten" as part of its privacy program.

Calif. Supreme Court rules names of officers involved in on-duty shootings are public record

Bradleigh Chance | Freedom of Information | News | May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014

The Supreme Court of California this week upheld a lower court ruling requiring a police department to release the names of officers involved in on-duty shootings.

In December 2010, Los Angeles Times reporter Richard Winton asked the Long Beach City Attorney‘s Office for the names of the two police officers who shot and killed a man in Los Angeles.

The officers were responding to a resident’s tip about an intoxicated man carrying a six-shooter though the neighborhood. When they arrived on the scene, they found 35-year-old Douglas Zerby. According to the officers, Zerby held up an object resembling a gun and the two of them reacted by firing shots and killing him. When the officers approached his body, they could see that the object Zerby was holding was actually a garden hose with a pistol grip spray nozzle.

Justice will no longer name individuals investigated in price-fixing cases unless they are charged

Lilly Chapa | Privacy | News | April 18, 2013
April 18, 2013

Business executives under investigation or being questioned about price fixing practices -- but not yet charged -- will no longer be publicly named in corporate plea agreement documents submitted to courts by the Department of Justice.

The new policy will also completely exclude from plea agreements the names of employees who are not cooperating with the price-fixing or bid-rigging investigation, as well as those who can’t be tracked down or are still being investigated. If they are charged, their names will be made public.

Mont. judge releases part of presentence report in prosecution of federal senator's boat crash

Lilly Chapa | Secret Courts | News | October 25, 2012
October 25, 2012

A Montana judge Wednesday approved the release of portions of a presentence investigation report in a criminal case stemming from a 2009 boat crash involving two federal legislators.

Ohio high court finds privacy rights trump access in police records case

Freedom of Information | News | May 11, 2012
May 11, 2012

The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday affirmed a lower court’s decision denying The Cincinnati Enquirer access to personally identifying information regarding police officers involved in a shootout with a motorcycle gang. Citing the officers' constitutional right of privacy, the court found those portions of requested records identifying particular officers were exempt from disclosure under the state public records law.

New law in Maine restricts public's access to vital records

Christine Beckett | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | April 8, 2010
April 8, 2010

A new law in Maine restricts access to the birth, death and marriage records of state citizens, The Associated Press reported.

Gov. John Baldacci signed the law on April 2. Now, only the person on the document, their spouse, parents, descendants or designated agents have access to such records. Genealogists and researchers will also be granted access if they have a researcher identification card.

Internet posting can lead to privacy claim, court finds

Jonathan Jones | Libel | Feature | June 25, 2009
June 25, 2009

Posting private information about someone on the Internet is enough to allow an invasion-of-privacy claim no matter how many people actually see it, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held this week. 

In the published opinion, the court created a broad rule "that the publicity element of an invasion-of-privacy claim is satisfied when private information is posted on a publicly accessible Internet website."