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NCJ Number: 47910 Find in a Library
Title: INFORMATION AND PRIVACY UNDER GEORGIA LAWS (FROM RIGHT TO PRIVACY VERSUS THE RIGHT TO KNOW - CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN INFORMATION AND PRIVACY)
Author(s): A J HOWARD
Corporate Author: University of Georgia
Institute of Government
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30601
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE AUTHORITY OF STATE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO COLLECT, RETAIN, AND AT TIMES RELEASE PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT CITIZENS IN GEORGIA IS EXAMINED.
Abstract: THERE IS A GROWING CONCERN THAT, UNLESS REGULATED, GOVERNMENT HANDLING OF PRIVATE DATA CONCERNING INDIVIDUALS MAY IMPERMISSIBLY INTRUDE ON CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS' RIGHTS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL IN A DEMOCRACY. ONE CITIZEN RIGHT REQUIRES PERSONAL OBSERVATION OF GOVERNMENT DECISIONMAKING OR AT LEAST A REVIEW OF THE DATA UPON WHICH THE GOVERNMENT CLAIMED TO BASE ITS DECISION. THE CITIZEN ALSO HAS THE RIGHT TO AN AMOUNT OF FREEDOM FROM GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN PRIVATE AFFAIRS WHICH IS BROAD ENOUGH TO ALLOW SOME CONTROL OVER THE FLOW OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL. THE PAPER ATTEMPTS TO MAKE STATE AGENCY OFFICIALS CONSIDER WHETHER CURRENT LAWS SUFFICIENTLY PROTECT THE GOVERNMENT'S NEED FOR INFORMATION AND THE INDIVIDUAL'S RIGHT TO ACCESS AND PRIVACY. CITIZEN ACCESS STATE GOVERNMENT-HELD INFORMATION IS PROVIDED BY TWO LAWS. THE STATE OPEN-RECORDS LAW ALLOWS CITIZENS THE RIGHT TO INSPECT AND COPY MOST PUBLIC RECORDS. THE GEORGIA OPEN-MEETINGS (SUNSHINE) LAW PERMITS A CITIZEN DIRECT ACCESS TO THE DECISIONMAKING PROCESS BY REQUIRING THAT ALL MEETINGS OF STATE, COUNTY, AND LOCAL AGENCIES WHERE OFFICIAL ACTIONS TAKE PLACE BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AND THAT THE MINUTES BE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION. TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES, ESPECIALLY IN THE USE OF COMPUTERS, HAVE MADE IT EASIER FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO ACQUIRE, RETAIN, AND TRANSFER INFORMATION. SUCH ACQUISITION IS SUBJECT TO POSSIBLE ABUSE. INCOMPLETE OR INACCURATE INFORMATION MAY LEAD TO DECISIONS RESULTING IN AN INDIVIDUAL'S LOSS OF GOVERNMENT BENEFITS. THE GOVERNMENT MAY INVADE AN INDIVIDUAL'S PRIVACY BY ATTEMPTING TO ACQUIRE INFORMATION PROTECTED BY THE FIRST, FOURTH, OR FIFTH AMENDMENTS OR BY A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF PRIVACY. FOUR TORT ACTIONS ADOPTED BY THE GEORGIA COURTS ARE LISTED. IN THIS STATE, THERE IS AN ABSENCE OF STATUTORY RESTRICTIONS ON WHAT TYPES OF INFORMATION A STATE AGENCY MAY COLLECT. ACCESS TO TAX, WELFARE, AND ADOPTION RECORDS AND TO PAROLE AND PARDON BOARD INFORMATION IS VERY LIMITED. THE IDEA THAT AN INDIVIDUAL HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF INFORMATIONAL PRIVACY HAS BEEN GIVEN SOME SUPPORT BY THE SUPREME COURT IN THE WHALER V. ROE DECISION. THE COURT CASE IS CITED. NOTES ARE PROVIDED. (JSP)
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Data collections; Georgia (USA); Information dissemination; Privacy and security; State laws
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=47910

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