FAF Letter to Sen. Passidomo Re: SB 608 Identity Theft and Fraud Protection Act

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5 January 2018
The Honorable Kathleen Passidomo
The Florida Senate
404 South Monroe Street, Room 318 Senate Office Building
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

Re: SB 608 Identity Theft and Fraud Protection Act

Dear Senator Passidomo:

We are writing to express our concerns regarding SB 608 which creates the Identity Theft and Fraud Protection Act, prohibiting agencies from posting images or public record information on publicly available websites if such information is susceptible to use for purposes of identity theft or fraud. The legislation requires the Department of State “to establish uniform standards” for use by agencies in determining which information is prohibited from posting under the Act.

Despite the requirement that the Department of State establish standards, Senator, we are concerned about the vagueness of the bill’s language and the possible inconsistent interpretation and application of the prohibition. Furthermore, people routinely and regularly post photographs of themselves and their families and other personal information on the web, so it’s not at all certain that the prohibition in SB 608 would have the desired effect.

In our experience, the bigger issue is the inadvertent posting of information that is currently confidential or exempt under our public records law. We would suggest, then, that rather than the prohibition, SB 608 be amended to require agencies to ensure that all confidential or exempt information contained in public records to be posted is redacted prior to posting. In lieu of such an amendment, we respectfully request that SB 608 be withdrawn from consideration.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns, Senator Passidomo. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,
Barbara A. Petersen, President

Cc: The Honorable Joe Negron, President, The Florida Senate
Jon Kaney, General Counsel, First Amendment Foundation
Sam Morley, General Counsel, Florida Press Association
Gil Thelen, Executive Director, Florida Society of News Editors

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