Public Records As Trade Secrets?

Wow, this is horrible precedent: publicly generated records as trade secrets.

Public universities can withhold records, including lists of season ticket holders, as trade secrets, the Connecticut Supreme Courtruled Tuesday.

Former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto submitted a freedom of information request for database information from the University of Connecticut in 2008. The request included the athletic department’s season ticket purchasers, the performing arts database of subscribers and ticket buyers, the Center for Continuing Studies’ database of people interested in programs offered and the library’s database of donors.

A lower court declared three of the four databases trade secrets under the statute as “customer lists.” The library’s database of donors was not considered a customer list, but the court remanded it back to the state’s Freedom of Information Commission to determine if the list may still be protected under the trade secret exemption.

In University of Connecticut v. Freedom of Information Commission, the state’s highest court upheld that decision, declaring for the first time that records created by public agencies can qualify as trade secrets.

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