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No privacy ‘right’ found in stripper’s registration

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  1. Freedom of Information

    NMU         FLORIDA         Freedom of Information         Jun 6, 2001    

No privacy ‘right’ found in stripper’s registration

  • A state appeals court finds that requiring strippers to register with the county and making the information available under open records laws does not violate any right to privacy.

Palm Beach County, Fla., has reopened its offices for licensing strippers following a state court of appeals ruling that collecting information from them and making it available to the public does not infringe upon any “right” of privacy the dancers might enjoy under the state constitution.

On May 16, the Fourth District Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that supported the claim of a stripper, identified in court records only as “D.B.,” that requiring her to register her birth name, stage name, age, address, social security number, height and weight, violated her right to privacy as guaranteed by the Florida constitution. D.B. claimed that the release of this information under the state’s open records law would allow patrons of the club were she works to “harass, harm, sexually assault or stalk her.”

The appeals court noted that the trial court had based most of its ruling on the fact that the information collected from strippers was compiled in a database that is accessible to the public under the state’s open records laws. But these facts should have been inconsequential to the trial court because the privacy provision of the state’s constitution only protects individuals from an intrusion of government, not from the public, according to the court.

The court found that “D.B.” did not have a “legitimate expectation of privacy” in much of the information the county required from her, primarily information that is routinely collected by the state on registration and licensing forms. The court also said that she had no privacy interest in her stage name because she uses it when she dances.

Palm Beach County requires the licensing of strippers to ensure that performers are over 18 years old. Strippers are required to keep their licenses with them at all times or with their personal belongings when performing. The licensing offices are located in the county’s Emergency Operations Center — famous as the home of last year’s presidential ballot recount.

(Board of County Commissioners of Palm Beach County v. D.B.) CC

© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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