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Texas Supreme Court To Hear Public Information Case
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On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to consider whether state employees’ birth dates are public information or are protected by the right to privacy.
The case stems from 2005 when the Dallas Morning News requested an updated state employee payroll database. Former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn released the database without birth dates, in contrast to previous years when the newspaper asked for and received that information.

The comptroller’s office and Nelson have said releasing birth dates could open up state workers to identity theft.

  
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Identity thieves “would love to have this information to unlock our personal finances,” Nelson said.

Wanda Garner Cash, past president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas said birth dates are critical for distinguishing state employees with the same names.

For example, newspaper or television reporters may be looking for government employees with criminal records by checking birth dates against conviction records.

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“If we can’t distinguish them by their birth date, we run the risk of not telling a story or telling the wrong story,” Cash said.





 

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