Opinion Letter No. 07-07
April 18, 2007
Personal Information and Vital Records in Land Records
Requester sought guidance on disclosure under the
UIPA of personal information and vital records included in the land
records of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Land Division
("DLNR"). OIP advised DLNR as follows:
Personal information contained in DLNR's land records
that carry a significant privacy interest, such as social security
numbers, home addresses and telephone numbers, ethnicity, and dates
of birth, may generally be redacted under the UIPA's privacy exception.
Generally, there is no public interest in disclosure of this type
of information that would outweigh that privacy interest. Certain
other records or information in which individuals may have a significant
privacy interest must be disclosed, however, where those records
or information shed light on DLNR's functions, such as its duty
of ensuring the genealogy of land owners and transferees.
DLNR must disclose vital records it maintains to the
extent that the records shed light on DLNR's performance of its
statutory purpose, but DLNR may withhold all other information on
those records. Specifically, DLNR may, prior to disclosure, redact
all information contained in the vital records except that information
necessary to establish genealogy for purposes of DLNR's functions.
Such information would likely include the vital event in question,
the names of individuals necessary to establish requisite relationships,
and the sex of the individual whose vital record is being sought.