Counties Laud Bill Protecting Sensitive 9-1-1 Transmissions

MACo’s Legal and Policy Counsel, Les Knapp testified in support for HB 215, Public Information Act – 9-1-1 Communications – Denial of Part of a Public Record, February 5, 2019.

This bill prevents the public release of certain personally identifying information or graphic content under the PIA for 9-1-1 transmissions.

The bill requires a custodian to deny inspection, under the PIA, of any part of a 9-1-1 record that depicts:

  • a victim or information that could identify a victim of domestic violence, a sexual crime, or abuse
  • personally relevant information that may identify a victim’s medical history
  • information the custodian knows was voluntarily provided to the file by a third party
  • images that may be considered gory or gruesome or convey scenes of murder or suicide

From the MACo testimony:

The potential for abusive use of such media, including victim-shaming and posting on the internet, is extremely high. HB 215 provides reasonable protections against the release of information showing victims of sensitive crimes or traumatic images while ensuring information important to the general public can be released. A person in interest can always receive and inspect a record.

HB 215 is narrowly crafted to protect sensitive information and prevent unwarranted invasions of personal privacy from media obtained through NG9-1-1 networks.

For more on 2019 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.

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