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The state-by-state privacy verdict is in, so to speak. The recent 2002 “Compilation of State and Federal Privacy Laws,” published by the Privacy Journal, ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of the relative level of protection they provide for personal privacy. The compilation results offer a comparative analysis so that you can see how your state’s privacy efforts fare relative to the rest of the nation. THE CRITERIA The Privacy Journalconsidered a number of factors in coming up with its rankings, such as whether a state includes a right to privacy in its constitution, protects privacy by way of statute, permits access to a patient’s own medical records, keeps library records confidential, limits disclosure of information held by state agencies, provides greater than federal protections for credit records, recognizes the confidentiality of bank records, permits erasure of arrest records of innocent people, or has enacted significant privacy protections. THE RANKINGS The rankings, the first by the Privacy Journalsince 1999, place California and Minnesota alone in first place. Indeed, both had rankings 33 percent higher than the very next ranked state. Others in the top ten are: Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Washington and Wisconsin. The states with the greatest privacy gains since 1999 are Arizona, Hawaii, Vermont and Washington state. The complete rankings, in alphabetical order by tier, are as follows: The Top Tier California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Washington and Wisconsin. The Second Tier Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont. The Third Tier Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia. The Fourth Tier Alabama, District of Columbia, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Last Tier Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. GET THE FULL SCOOP To learn more, the 106-page compilation can be ordered for $35 from the Privacy Journal, P.O. Box 28577, Providence, RI 02908, phone 401-274-7861, fax 401-274-4747. These results may motivate residents to contact their state representatives if they believe that their state should provide greater protection for personal privacy. Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris ( www.duanemorris.com), where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology disputes. Sinrod’s Web site is www.sinrodlaw.com, and he can be reached at [email protected]. To receive a weekly e-mail link to Sinrod’s columns, please type Subscribe in the subject line of an e-mail to be sent to [email protected].

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