Speaking of Usability: Privacy and Openness

Jon Mills, who has been heading up Florida’s Committee on Privacy and Court Records. He has an article in the HeraldTribune:

How do we balance the competing values of privacy and openness? The Internet makes possible greater openness, so indispensable to good government, and allows for greater convenience in accessing government services, including court records. However, such technology also places the privacy of Floridians at risk.

at the end of which, he invites public comment at the Florida Courts website. The draft report was a bit hard to find. (73 page pdf).

There’s a tough balance to maintain; what records are private? What information do you need to disclose to the courts? Should the Choicepoints of the world have unfettered access to that data?

If someone files a restraining order against an ex, do they have to disclose an address? If so, should that address, provided to the courts out of fear for ones life, be made available to anyone who shows up at the courthouse?

Speaking of public records, The Virginia Watchdog does a great job of showing how much private information is available to anyone on the web.