An Express Article from the California Land Title Association
The California Attorney General has issued an opinion (Opinion 06-802) that a county recorder does not have to obtain permission from local officials whose information might be transmitted over a limited access network. The opinion addressed the situation where a county recorder maintains a comprehensive database of property-related information that might incidentally contain the home addresses and telephone numbers of elected or appointed officials, but who are not identifiable as such from the data.
California law prohibits a state or local agency from posting the home address or telephone number of any elected or appointed official on the Internet without first obtaining their written permission. As a practical matter, the opinion recognized that some agencies might conclude that they were forced to refrain for making any property-related database accessible to any internet technology, no matter how secure or limited the network, due to the possibility that the data could contain home information of public officials. It also recognized that an identification process utilized to review and redact information would be virtually impossible to do and be very time consuming.
The opinion found it difficult to conclude that the Legislature could have intended such impractical results that would have denied access or resulted in incomplete databases. Instead the opinion viewed the law as being intended to prevent public agencies form posting on their public website any list or directory of public officials’ home addresses and telephone numbers with out first getting permission.