Thursday, December 09, 2010

Private Investigator News: Pennsylvania Office of Open Records orders release of birthdates

"Reporter Dylan Purcell, on behalf of the Philadelphia Inquirer, asked the Pennsylvania Office of Administration ("OA") to provide him with a list state employees and salaries. The OA granted the request, but only provided Purcell with the employees' years of birth, rather than a full birth date including the day and month born. Purcell appealed to the Office of Open Records ("OOR"), arguing that the dates of birth of state employees are public records. The OOR agreed with Purcell, and issued a final determination ordering the OA to provide Purcell with the state employees' full dates of birth."

"The final determination, Purcell v. Pennsylvania Office of Administration, AP 2010-0845 (OOR 10/29/10) summarizes prior appellate decisions, legislative history, and OOR final determinations that address whether dates of birth of public employees are public records."

"The OOR dismissed the OA's constitutional argument because no appellate court in Pennsylvania has held that individuals have a constitutional right to privacy in their dates of birth. In response to the OA's arguments that state employees may fall victims to physical violence or stolen identities, the OOR noted that the OA failed to cite a single instance where a public employee was a victim of a crime, including identity theft, due to the release of their date of birth."

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