The Enterprise, a weekly print and online publication serving the Brockton, Mass. area, has made a written request to the City of Brockton for a complete list of who has a taxpayer-funded cell phone and what phone numbers are associated with them. The city has provided a partial list of those who have been issued a cell phone, but did not include any phone numbers.
City officials believe that by not releasing the phone numbers, they are protecting the privacy of the cell phone user, since cell phone numbers are “intimate details of a highly personal nature.”
Others who specialize in public records cases disagree. Prince Lobel Media Law Partner Rob Bertsche thinks that “the city’s argument is on very shaky ground. There are times when home telephone numbers are not given out. Those are far more private from the point of view of a public employee than the number of a phone they’re carrying around throughout the day in performing their duties.”
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