Posted on Apr 18, 2007 in Formal Opinions

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.

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