The Friday Rant: Leave My Info Alone!

Am I crazy, or is it crazy that the Freedom of Information Act can give out someone’s personal info without their consent?

Even before this gun-control issue, I had heard rumors that people could get access to names and addresses if those addresses were in government files, like utility records. This seems so crazy and stupid, I’ve always assumed it wasn’t true.

And then I heard about this newspaper in New York publishing the names and addresses of gun owners — along with an interactive map to their houses on their website.

According to FOIA.gov, “The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.”

“About their government.” A person’s address or phone number is not “about their government.” An individual is not their government. So how come FOIA gives a newspaper access to addresses of gun owners?

I’m no NRA member, but I’m uncomfortable with anyone getting my address, so if I did own a gun, this would freak me out. Say you have a victim of domestic violence who is trying to stay away from the ex, and has a gun in case he finds her. Now her address is right there for the ex to find on the newspaper’s website.

This isn’t the intent of the law.

When I was growing up, we couldn’t have our phone number listed in the phone book because my dad was a cop. It was rather annoying, really, because friends couldn’t just look up my phone number, but Dad said it was a safety issue. Cops never give out that info in case of retribution from guys they put in jail. Since cops always have a gun at home (St. Louis and KC cops are actually required by law to always have a gun on them), and therefore have their guns registered, suddenly their addresses are out there in the public.

This is BS.

No matter how you feel about gun control, you have to admit, people having access to the names and addresses of other people is an invasion of privacy. If you have a kid and don’t want him in a household with a gun, you don’t need a website to find out; just ask. I’ve done it. But don’t put people’s info out there in the public eye. We have a right to privacy that supersedes anyone’s desire to know whether someone has a gun.

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About alisaacarter

I am a writer of young adult novels, wife, mom of three, lover of animals, former magazine editor, reader of anything paranormal, and coffee fanatic.
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