Thursday, August 04, 2011

New Jersey's OPRA: making information publicly available

IPBiz originates out of New Jersey, and does include stories of relevance to New Jerseyans, such as matters with New Jersey's Open Records Act [OPRA]. Both New Jersey's OPRA and federal patent law are about making information publicly available.

There was a recent OPRA case LIVECCHIA v. BOROUGH OF MOUNT ARLINGTON relating to public access of the destination location of cellular calls made by municipal employees using government-issued cellular phones. The Appellate Division found in favor of public access:

Telephone records of a public entity, which are government records as defined under OPRA, may contain some information subject to an individual's privacy interests, such as the telephone number called. However, we reject the Borough's argument suggesting the opinions establishing a right to privacy in telephone records shields the destination location of the calls from public scrutiny. See North Jersey Newspapers Co. v. Passaic Cnty. Bd. of Chosen Freeholders, 127 N.J. 9, 18 (1992); Gannett N.J. Partners, LP v. Cnty. of Middlesex, 379 N.J.Super. 205, 215 (App. Div. 2005). We hold that when limiting a public record request, OPRA's emphasis on access mandates the public entity clearly demonstrate a claim of privacy in all redacted information.
Here, in balancing these countervailing interests, the Borough has failed to show that the destination location of the calls made by municipal employees triggers a protected privacy right, similar to that sheltering the release of telephone numbers or names of persons called. Accordingly, OPRA's presumption favoring public access to the call location information prevails, and we affirm the order of the GRC.

IPBiz is a blog about "intellectual property" and does include stories of New Jersey interest. There are geographically related IP blogs. For example, there is a blog relating to Florida IP titled Florida IP Trends, which has interesting text on the first page: You must agree to these terms before reading Florida IP Trends.

Note also IPInsiders

**In passing, a link to IPBiz shows up on FunTrivia:

From the best I can find it was a sketch on a radio show called, 'Pull My Finger Charlie'.

Years earlier, someone else had gone on the radio with a sketch titled "Pull My Finger Charlie" showing a hypothetical toy doll that made a similar noise and joked, "Did someone step on a duck?" when its finger was pulled.

Found at:

**At a Dunkin Donuts in Rockaway, New Jersey

‘Extra Sugar’ Operation Ends in Arrest for Dunkin’ Donuts Prostitute


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