Home Address Exemptions in State FOI Laws


As more people express concerns about physical threats and harassment, state governments have responded by exempting home addresses from public disclosure. This survey of state open records law found that exemptions are common for public employees, law enforcement agents, victims and minors, and that general privacy exemptions are often – but not always – interpreted to withhold home addresses from release. Confidentiality programs for victims of domestic violence and sexual offenses have been instituted in 45 states, with more states considering proposals. While balancing tests for personal privacy may slow down records release, they can help prevent the wholesale closure of records and allow journalists to report on important issues related to home addresses.

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Copyright (c) 2022 Jodie Gil, Robert A. Smith, Kauther S. Badr