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Latvala predicts 'furor' if residents' email addresses are public

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, was all by himself and he couldn't believe it.

In a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting Thursday, Latvala was the lone voice objecting to a bill to allow property appraisers to send homeowners tax notices and other official documents by email instead of through the postal service.

The bill (SB 7130) was presented by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and Latvala was shocked that it did not also include a public records exemption to keep homeowners' email addresses confidential. Latvala said if the email addresses are public, private for-profit vendors can obtain them under the state public records law, invade their privacy and solicit them for goods and services of all kinds.

"We're going to have a lot of our constituents that are going to get very angry and will want to know how people got their email addresses," Latvala warned his colleagues. "I've had the experience. I'm in the business. I know the furor that comes from that," said Latvala, a printer and campaign consultant who deals with supervisors of elections regarding voters' requests for absentee ballots.

"This is a big deal with the privacy of citizens," said Latvala, recalling the public outrage several years ago when it was discovered that motorists' personal driving records were being sold commercially to profit-making companies.

Hukill said that if public access to individuals' email addresses is a problem with her bill, it's also an issue with similar bills.

Latvala was the only senator from either party who voted against the bill. His stand likely will draw the attention of the First Amendment Foundation, which opposes a similar public records exemption for voters who request sample ballots by email.

-- Steve Bousquet

Comments

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Frank

I'm afraid I don't understand the problem - people's mailing and physical addresses are public record too...

Can't take anymore

Gee, Frank: do you really think receiving a zillion spam emails is less irritating than a dozen paper advertisements in your mailbox? This bill is a spammer's delight and I'd like to know just who put Dottie up to filing this absurd bill? Probably carrying the water for one of her more powerful colleagues who doesn't want the stink of it coming back to haunt him when he seeks higher office.

whasup

Latvala is often wrong. But on this one he is absolutely correct. The worse part is that this opening of e-mail addresses to spammers and scammers will lead to much more predation on vulnerable seniors. It's bad enough that adult kids have to review their elders' snail mail for fraudsters and abusers soliciting for cash. Now, they'll have to review or quash granny's e-mails to keep the theft-by-heart-string-plucking crowd from victimizing her.

pmath

Latvala predicts "furor"...well, Latvala is right! And once these addresses are obtained from the public record they can be sold and re-sold for profit by companies that compile these lists for advertising purposes.

Gimmeabreak!

The spam increase will eat up time and space, it's true, but the worse part of it is all of the malware that will accompany much of the spam Viruses will spread not only with the ones listed but jump to all with whom they contact! What a horror!

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