Poll: 2/3 of Ohioans believe others have too much info about them

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that, in a Columbus-area poll conducted by the newspaper, two-thirds of respondents said other Ohioans have too much access to personal information about them.

While the Dispatch is happy to tout a result which showed that "about 75 percent said Ohioans have either too little or about the right amount of access to government records", as with most public opinion polls, the devil really is in the details.

The number of people who think more access is needed stood at just 37%. And 66% said they believe too much personal information is available to the public.

The poll also indicated Ohioans are more interested in records related to the activities of law-breakers than in personal information about their neighbors.

From the story:

    ...Almost nine in 10 central Ohioans strongly agree that they want access to the names of sexual offenders; nearly eight in 10 want a look at restaurant health inspections; and seven in 10 want to see local crime reports.

    But only a little more than four in 10 strongly agree that the public should have access to records showing local government officials’ expense accounts or the police chief’s salary and benefits.

    And two-thirds say other Ohioans have too much access to personal information about them.

    "Human nature would suggest people want information about others but are reluctant for others to have information about them," said Martin D. Saperstein, president of Saperstein Associates.

Amidst a blizzard of public records stories in Ohio newspapers today (apparently someone thought to designate this as "Sunshine Week"), and under an avalanche of newspapers trying to tell people how mad they should be about not having more access to records, there is an article about how people really ARE made about their private info being made public - in several high-profile data theft cases involving Ohioans in the past month.

From the story:

    "In 1956, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Ohioans have the right to keep their private affairs private.

    Companies or individuals that disclose private information, even accidentally,
    "could potentially be liable under this provision even for publicizing private
    information that is completely true," said [T. Earl LeVere, a partner in the Bricker & Eckler law firm.]

Ohioans who have obtained Concealed Handgun Licenses so that they may exercise a constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense have broken no laws, and are statistically proven not to be a threat to anyone but criminals who might attack them. This is the type of private information that most Ohioans clearly are more interested in keeping private.

OFCC PAC supports the idea that records of governmental activity should be public.
However, many records held by the government (the personal info on driver's licenses, W2 statements, tax returns, etc.) are personal and private, as should be a persons' status as a CHL-holder. Society has a vested interest in safeguarding the privacy of individuals and keeping private information secure.

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