Monday, April 02, 2007

Are spammers using public records requests to get your patrons' email addresses (off their library card registrations)?

I'm starting to hear about this trend. Is it happening to your library? On the one hand, it sounds so far fetched that anyone would go to the trouble to get patron email addresses by making public records requests to libraries. Further, it seems so obvious that this personal information would/should be exempted, but you'd have to look at the wording of your state law to see if it is. On the other hand, maybe its cheaper and better information than spammers could buy off other types of marketing lists. After all, library patrons are, whatever else you can say about them, usually real people.

Library folks in Oregon recently told me that SB 950 is moving (and quite likely to pass) in their state legislature. It would exempt patrons' email addresses from public disclosure under the state public records law.

74th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2007 Regular Session

NOTE: Matter within { + braces and plus signs + } in an
amended section is new. Matter within { - braces and minus
signs - } is existing law to be omitted. New sections are within
{ + braces and plus signs + } .

LC 2093

Senate Bill 950

Sponsored by Senator BURDICK; Senators AVAKIAN, CARTER, FERRIOLI,
KRUMMEL, NATHANSON, ROBLAN, SHIELDS (at the request of Oregon
Library Association)


The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the
measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to
consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor's
brief statement of the essential features of the measure as

Exempts patron's electronic mail address in library records
from public disclosure.

Relating to public records; amending ORS 192.502.
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:
SECTION 1. ORS 192.502 is amended to read:
192.502. The following public records are exempt from
disclosure under ORS 192.410 to 192.505:

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