The public has both a right and a need to know what the government is doing.

This right most often is exercised through the media. This does not mean that all information the government collects about people should be available to anyone who wants it.

California restricted access to motor vehicle records after a stalker got a woman’s car license number, and used motor vehicle records to get her address and kill her.

An insurance firm got a federal employee’s personal information, then used it for marketing. Real estate firms have done the same to me, using property records. The publishing of gun owners names is a way of harassing people.

Tax records could be used to target people for fundraising or intimidation, depending on which side of an issue they donated to. As the government takes an ever larger role in health care, our medical records could be considered government records. Indeed, those of military members and VA patients are so marked.

Any demand that private data be released because the government has it is a bag of snakes. Be careful opening it — someone will be bitten.

Tom Heyns

Chelsea

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