OK Supreme Court Mulls Barring Personal Data from Court Files


The Oklahoma Supreme Court is considering whether to ban from public court records basic personal information such as where a criminal defendant lives, The Oklahoman reports. “This is scary,” said Lindel Hutson of FOI Oklahoma, an organization dedicated to openness in government. “News media and many other legitimate users need birth dates and addresses to separate names. I appreciate the court’s concerns, but this is very broad and would seem to cause more harm than good. Surely, there’s a better way,” said Hutson, a retired bureau chief for the Associated Press.

Under the proposal, an individual’s birth date would be limited in most records to just the year. A home address would be limited to the city and state. Only the initials of a child could be included. Social Security numbers, financial account numbers, driver’s license numbers and other similar numbers would be limited to the last four digits. “It’s not the intent to hide anything,” said Justice Douglas Combs. “We’re trying to balance the ability of the public to be somewhat protected in their personal information but yet still provide the information for the public’s use where the system can be used by everybody.” The Supreme Court specifically asked for comments by Nov. 4.

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