Bill Summary for H 399 (2023-2024)
|View NCGA Bill Details||2023-2024 Session|
AN ACT TO CREATE THE NORTH CAROLINA JUDICIAL PRIVACY ACT.Intro. by Alexander, Majeed, Belk.
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Effective December 1, 2023, enacts Article 31C to GS Chapter 7A. Names the article the North Carolina Judicial Privacy Act (Act). States the Act’s purpose as improving the safety and security of North Carolina judicial officials. Clarifies that the Act is not intended to restrain a judicial official from publicizing their own public information and that no government agency, business or association has any obligation to protect the privacy of a judicial official until receiving a request in writing from that individual. Directs that the Act should not be construed to impair free access to decisions and opinions expressed by judicial officials in the course of carrying out each judicial official's public function. Specifies that the Act and any rules adopted pursuant to the Act should be construed broadly to favor the protection of the personal information of judicial officials and members of their immediate family.
Defines judicial official as actively employed, former, or deceased (1) justices of the US Supreme Court and NC Supreme Court, (2) judges of the US Court of Appeals and NC Court of Appeals, (3) judges and magistrate judges of the US District Court, (4) judges of the US Bankruptcy Court, and (5) judges presiding over NC superior courts and district courts. Defines personal information as a home address, home telephone number, mobile telephone number, pager number, personal email address, Social Security number, federal tax identification number, checking and savings account numbers, credit card numbers, marital status, and identity of children under the age of 18. Defines publicly post or publicly display as to publicly communicate to another or otherwise make available to the general public. Defines written request as written notice signed by a judicial official or their representative requesting a government agency, person, business, or association to refrain from posting or displaying publicly available content that includes the judicial official's personal information.
Also defines government agency, home address, immediate family, and publicly available content.
Bars government agencies from publicly posting or displaying publicly available content that includes a judicial official's personal information, provided that the government agency has received a written request from the official that it refrain from disclosing their personal information. After the written request is made, directs the removal of any personal information from publicly available content within five business days. Specifies that such information is also exempt from disclosure under State public records law unless a government agency receives permission from the judicial official to disclose the information. Permits a judicial official to seek injunctive or declaratory relief if a government agency fails to comply with the request. Creates a good faith exception for government agency employees who, in good faith, publish personal information prohibited from being published in the ordinary course of carrying out their public functions, if the agency has otherwise complied with the Act.
Bars any person, business, or association from publicly posting or displaying on the internet publicly available content that includes a judicial official's personal information so long as the official has made a written request to the person, business, or association that it refrain from disclosing the personal information. Also bars any person, business, or association from soliciting, selling, or trading on the internet a judicial official's personal information with the intent to pose an imminent and serious threat to the health and safety of the official or their immediate family. Clarifies that the bar on public disclosure by these private parties includes, but is not limited to, internet phone directories, internet search engines, internet data aggregators, and internet service providers. After the written request is made, directs the private parties to remove any personal information from the internet within 72 hours and to refrain from publicly sharing or transferring any personal information. Authorizes a judicial official to seek declaratory or injunctive relief against the private party and to obtain costs and attorneys’ fees if the court grants the relief sought.
Sets forth specifications for submission of the written request, including the requirement that the judicial official specify exactly what personal information they would like kept private. Specifies that the written request is valid until the judicial official revokes the request or passes away.
Makes it a Class C felony for any person to knowingly and publicly post on the internet the personal information of a judicial official or member of their immediate family if (1) the person knows or reasonably should know that publicly posting the personal information poses an imminent and serious threat to the health and safety of the judicial official or member of their immediate family and (2) the violation of the Act is a proximate cause of bodily injury or death of the judicial official or a member of their immediate family.
Contains a severance clause.
The above applies to public information that is made public or continues to remain public on or after December 1, 2023.