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Privacy v. Free Speech Case Heads to Court

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

March 23, 2010

The Virginia attorney general's appeal of a ruling allowing a privacy advocate to republish state officials' Social Security numbers on her Web site is now before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The appeal came after U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne ordered the state to stop enforcing a law that prohibited Betty "BJ" Ostergren from republishing the numbers of Virginia officials in records that are already accessible to the public, ruling the law violated her right to free speech. Ostergren has said her goal is to show that such information should not be accessible through government Web sites, the report states. The state's appeal, meanwhile, contends, "Criminals have, in fact, turned to Ostergren's Web site to obtain SSNs for criminal purposes."
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