to persons without any protection against its unauthorized use. According
to plaintiffs, the constitutional right to privacy protects information
such as the block on which a registrant lives or the intersection nearest
his home. Defendants argue that the constitutional right to privacy
protects a person's address, but does not extend to the "general vicinity"
in which a person lives.
The right to privacy upon which plaintiffs' claims are based derives
from the Supreme Court's opinion in Whalen v. Roe, 429 U.S. 589, 97
S.Ct. 869, 51 L.Ed.2d 64 (1977). In Whalen, the Supreme Court held that
the constitutional right to privacy encompasses an individual's interest
in avoiding disclosure of personal information. Id. at 599-600, 97 S.Ct.
869. Thus, the Court ruled that copies of plaintiffs' prescriptions for
certain drugs were entitled to privacy protection. Subsequent decisions
have interpreted the right to privacy outlined in Whalen to apply to a
person's medical records and certain financial information. See Fraternal
Order of Police, 812 F.2d at 115 (recognizing that certain financial
records should be afforded constitutional protection); Westinghouse, 638
F.2d at 577 (extending privacy protection to medical records).
In its opinion in this case, the Third Circuit stated that, "[i]n
determining whether information is entitled to privacy protection, we
have looked at whether it is within an individual's reasonable
expectations of confidentiality." Paul P., 170 F.3d at 401 (citing
Fraternal Order of Police, 812 F.2d at 112-113). The Court went on to
state that it was "not insensitive" to the argument that plaintiffs had a
privacy interest in their home addresses. Id. at 404. The Court stated
that the cases reflected a "general understanding" that home addresses
are entitled to "some privacy protection" and concluded: "[w]e are
therefore unwilling to hold that absent a statute, a person's home
address is never entitled to privacy protection. As the Court said in
Department of Defense, persons `have some nontrivial privacy interest in
nondisclosure . . .'" Id. (citing U.S. Dept. of Defense v. FLRA,
510 U.S. 487, 501, 114 S.Ct. 1006, 127 L.Ed.2d 325 (1994)).
Although the existence of a right to privacy in personal information is
now relatively well-established, the boundaries of that right are less
clear. See Scheetz v. The Morning Cath Inc., 946 F.2d 202, 206 (3d Cir.
1991)("[T]he contours of the confidentiality branch are murky.").
However, several cases have suggested that this constitutional protection
will extend only to information which is extremely personal or intimate.
See Fraternal Order, 812 F.2d at 112-13 ("The more intimate or personal
the information, the more justified is the expectation that it will not
be subject to public scrutiny."); Doe v. City of New York, 15 F.3d 264,
267 (2d Cir. 1994) ("[T]here are few matters that are quite so personal
as the status of one's health"); Wade v. Goodwin, 843 F.2d 1150, 1153
(8th Cir. 1988) (holding that constitutional protection against public
dissemination of private information extends only to matters regarding
"the most intimate aspects of human affairs."). Information concerning
the general area in which a person lives is not information of an
extremely personal or private nature. Nor is this information generally
within a person's "reasonable expectations of confidentiality." Id. at
Thus, this Court is unwilling to hold, absent persuasive authority, that
information regarding the' general vicinity in which a person lives is
constitutionally indistinguishable from a person's exact street address.
Plaintiffs also argue that a street name or block number is entitled to
constitutional protection because it may lead people to discover a
registrant's "exact" street address. Specifically, plaintiffs state:
By disclosing the street name and block on which a
registrant resides or the name and address of his
motel, along with the registrant's name, photograph,
description, and vehicle identification and license
plate number, the State has given more than enough
information for a recipient—many of whom live
within blocks of the registrant—to know or
easily discover a registrant's `exact' street
address, if so desired.
(Pls.' brief, 10). In today's world, much "private" information can be
uncovered about a person from non-private sources. In most cases, a
person with the inclination and internet access can discover a another's
home address without great effort. Were this Court to expand the Supreme
Court's holding in Whalen to protect all information which may "lead to"
the discovery of private information, very little infornation would be
free from constitutional protection. The Court declines to read Whalen so
For the reasons set forth above, plaintiffs' motion to enforce the
injunction is denied. Because the Court has concluded that the revised
Attorney General Guidelines comply with the Court's previous Opinion, the
injunction against disseminating Megan's Law notices is vacated. The
Court will issue an appropriate order.*fn5