This thread raises several flags in my (admittedly) tired brain.

Virginia's FOI Act is offset by the Privacy Protection Act which covers the
point Dwight Wallace made - "I think there should be a reasonable
expectation on the part of the public that personal information provided for
a particular purpose should be managed by the government in a manner that
supports that purpose, and reduces the likelihood of misuse, either by the
government or by others."  The Virginia PPA was created to prevent the
misuse of collected info and, among several other issues, specifically
requires a "clearly prescribed procedure to prevent personal information
collected for one purpose from being used for another purpose."  It also
requires "a prescribed procedure for an individual to learn the purpose for
which information has been recorded and particulars about its use and

<Bill Roach> - "It is not the same as producing the info for a FOIA or other
public request. Those requests are made by a single organization or
individual and ask for specific information."
Not always specific.  As a point of reference, I used FOIA as an example
because that is our (City of Newport News) primary guideline for what must
be considered public and what we can legally limit or deny access to. There
are, obviously, other examples of public access to information. The Virginia
FOIA does not allow us to ask for a reason for the request or why the info
is needed, and the requestor does not even have to cite the Act when
requesting information.

<Bill Roach> "However, isn't that exactly what we are doing if we post the
information on a website."
Which leads me to the quandary rattling around in my mind.  When we post
information to a web site are we publishing the information or are we making
public information more accessible?  Is putting the contents of deed books
(or any other public record) on the internet any different than having them
on racks in a reading or research room at the County Courthouse?  Other than
the ease (and possibly volume) of access, there is no difference in who may
look at the information.  We do not check criminal records or identification
cards or ask reasons for research of the persons using the record books in
the courthouse.

I have no clear answer to this quandary.  In Virginia, I know that the
Public Records Act, FOIA, and PPA must govern my records and information
actions, but, until we can define what posting to the internet constitutes,
RIM practitioners have few resources for justifying what internet records
and information actions we should or should not support. We can only let our
conscience be our guide.

Ginny Jones
(Virginia A. Jones, CRM, MIT/LIT)
Newport News Waterworks
Newport News, VA
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