Mississippi Press Editorial: Let this bad bill die a swift death

Attorney General Jim Hood reportedly is aggravated because someone somewhere apparently gave out his personal e-mail and home mailing addresses after he asked another state for information about pheasant hunting on public lands.

The result, he said, was a barrage of tourism brochures from other states.

Mr. Hood reacted by asking for the bill that prevents every business, nonprofit organization and state agency from releasing “all personal information concerning an individual” without that person’s permission. Included are e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers.

The Mississippi Press editorial board has no problem with keeping Social Security numbers confidential, but under this bill a business couldn’t even post a contact list of employees on its Web site without seeking their permission, and the state couldn’t even put out a directory of legislators.

Maybe some state officials, including legislators, would like it that way, but the result would be more bureaucracy and less access to the people doing the people’s work.

The Mississippi Press
1/25/10