Home Address Exemptions are the Wrong Approach in Protecting Privacy


This commentary lays out six reasons why broad exemptions for home addresses in public records laws do little to protect people's privacy and hinder the ability for journalists, businesses and others to serve society. These exemptions are based on fear-inspiring anecdotes, provide the public a false sense of security, ignore the fact home addresses are available elsewhere to those with means and motivation, lead to a slippery slope toward crimininalization of publication, restrict legitimate use of home addresses, and do not pass intermediate scrutiny that one might apply to other restrictions on information gathering. Instead of restricting valuable information, policy makers should focus their efforts on the actual harmful acts intended to be addressed, such as identity theft, doxing, harassment and assault.

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