Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I guess they just don't get it

In an editorial, the Dallas Morning News editorial board decries the fact that the Texas Supreme Court decided that dates of birth of public employees should not be released under FOI requests.
It's outrageous that the court saw things differently, guessing that the public interest is "negligible" as balanced, somehow, against a public employee's right to privacy.
Perhaps the DMN doesn't comprehend the idea of PII.  The board mentions that during investigations of state agencies, "[b]irth dates were important to establishing airtight matches in comparing criminal and payroll records."  It's boggling to me that they do not see this as a potential problem.  That merely highlights the fact that birthdates should definitely be controlled and widely disseminated.

The board also decries the double-standard that exists in the state of Texas:
Last is what amounts to an official, court-sanctioned double standard. Qualifying buyers remain free to obtain mass databases of information collected from licensed drivers including – of all things – dates of birth.
Today, courtesy of the Supreme Court, a watchdog can't lay eyes on a state worker's DOB, but an insurance company can buy it. Absurd.
I agree that the double-standard is a problem.  However, the solution is NOT to allow for wider dissemination of private data.  Instead, the legislature should act to RESTRICT the dissemination of that data.

Security is everyone's responsibility, and what "sticks in the craw" is the whinging attitude of the DMN Editorial Board that they are not getting their way.

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