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Best Practices for Court Privacy Policy Formulation

Earlier this year, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) conducted two focus groups, one specifically focused on privacy policies and the other on automated redaction.  The product of these focus groups is a white paper titled, “Best Practices for Court Privacy Policy Formulation.”  Prepared with support from SJI, the document outlines how privacy policies and redaction capabilities should be considered in concert with each other as state courts refine this business practice.

Court privacy policy was an area last addressed in 2002 by the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) in the report titled, “Developing CCJ/COSCA Guidelines for Public Access to Court Records:  A National Project to Assist State Courts.” An update review was necessary given that technology and transparency has both improved over the past 15 years.

The report includes a broad examination of the issues surrounding privacy, including public attitudes towards openness, accountability, and the value of data gleaned.  It also addresses specific cost/benefits of court technology used in automated redaction and risk averse strategy to accomplish the challenges associated with a comprehensive privacy policy.  Limited examples of courts in other counties utilizing automated redaction technology with greater efficiency are highlighted.

The report features four appendices that update, expand, or define for the first time, work from the seminal 2002 white paper.