Privacy protection urged for California city
October 14, 2008 by Personal Liberty News Desk
Privacy and civil liberty concerns have been raised about the way that the city of Santa Rosa, California manages the data it collects about residents.
More specifically, privacy advocates have been calling for stricter controls and clear policies to limit who can access information, the Press Democrat reports.
One of the initiatives that is under scrutiny is a scheme currently being carried out by city-hired contractors to photograph every street in the city.
The idea is to create a digital photo database of city-owned property so that future trips to the sites can be avoided, thus increasing efficiency.
However, Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum has said that Santa Rosa’s implementation of this plan has so far been "irresponsible."
"Information held by the government can be used to influence your world in very profound ways," she told the news provider.
In response, the city’s chief technology officer Eric McHenry said that his team had decided to cut back on the number of city employees who have access the street-level photos.
However, legal questions remain about how the information would be shared under California’s open access laws, the publication stated.