Should Florida Citizens have an expectation of privacy? What, if any, are the limits for a code inspector to enter a property for inspection?
In today’s world, where transparency and accountability in government are more important than ever, public records are a crucial tool in ensuring that the government remains transparent and accountable to its citizens. However, there are some instances where certain information contained in public records should not be disclosed to the public. This is where exemption reviews come in.
Exemption reviews are a crucial tool for ensuring that sensitive or confidential information is not disclosed to the public, while still maintaining transparency and accountability in government. Municipal governments have a responsibility to protect the personal information within their systems and to comply with applicable laws and regulations. In the event of a security breach, especially in Florida, the consequences could be severe. It is important that municipal governments take all necessary measures to safeguard public records and prevent security breaches from occurring.
Exemption reviews are a process used by municipal governments to determine if any exemptions apply to public records before they are released to the public. This process is essential to ensuring that sensitive or confidential information is not disclosed to the public, while still maintaining transparency and accountability in government. Exemption reviews involve carefully reviewing each record and determining if any exemptions apply under applicable laws, such as state public records laws, federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or other relevant regulations. Exemptions may allow certain information to be withheld from public disclosure, but only if specific criteria are met.
Now, let’s consider what could happen if there is a security breach in a municipal government’s public records system, specifically in Florida. Florida has one of the strongest public records laws in the United States, the Florida Sunshine Law. The law requires that all state, county, and municipal records be open for personal inspection by any person, with limited exceptions. This means that if there is a security breach, sensitive or confidential information could be accessed by unauthorized individuals.
A security breach in a municipal government’s public records system could have serious consequences. It could result in identity theft, financial fraud, or other types of cybercrime. In addition, it could damage the public’s trust in government and lead to legal challenges. Municipal governments have a duty to protect the personal information of their citizens and to maintain transparency and accountability in government. Failure to do so could have severe repercussions.
One of the benefits of working with Privacy Partners is knowing that your personal information never touches the public record. On more then one occasion, Privacy Partners has received public records from a jurisdiction that missed an important step in public record process: The Exemption Review. We have received documents with residents Dates of Birth, Social Security Numbers, Home Addresses, and Names, as well as other traditionally exempt information. In these instances, we work with the government jurisdiction to confirm if redactions are required prior to releasing those records to our clients. While Privacy Partners is committed on keeping our clients personal information out of the public record, we also feel a strong responsibility to help those whose information is already trapped in the system from being exploited in a potential data breach.
It is true that the Municipal Exemption Review process can often cause delays in getting records, incur significant costs if a request if complex enough, and eliminate information that could be responsive to the request. However, the protection of the information they hold is more important than any inconvenience or cost. Nobody wants to be on the wrong side of a data breach where their information could be misused as part of identity theft. It is vitally important that municipal governments take the time and all necessary measures to safeguard their public records and prevent security breaches from occurring.