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Digital Discretion: State Law

Privacy and confidentiality, especially in the digital arena

Some State Laws

Alaska does have one generally applicable law relating to the disposition and "breach" of a person's personal information and to the acquisition, use, and handling of social security numbers (SSNs) and credit card numbers.  Apart from that law, the legal landscape in Alaska is similar to federal law.  There are a number of statutes and regulations relating to particular types of information and institutions, but no overarching law relating to the acquisition and use of personal information.   Institutions in Alaska wishing to identify their responsibilities, and Alaskans wishing to know their rights, might find the following laws and regulations helpful. 

Find the text of the cited statues and regulations at http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/folio.asp

Alaska Personal Information Protection Act - AS 45.48 – Applies to businesses, government agencies, or people/companies with 10 or more employees. Just some of the Act's requirements follow:

  • Requires written notification upon any unauthorized access to unencrypted personal information, such as a name along with an SSN, driver’s license number, account number, password or access code.
  • Prohibits a number of activities relating to SSNs, including, for example, disclosure, requiring an SSN as a condition for products or services, requesting or collecting an SSN and printing an SSN on material mailed out, all with numerous exceptions.
  • Allows a consumer to place a security freeze on a credit report, to prevent others from accessing it. 
  • Requires reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of records when disposing of records containing personal information.
  • Prohibits printing more than the last 4 digits of a credit card number on a receipt.
  • Allows a victim of identity theft to petition the court for a declaration of innocence.

See http://www.law.state.ak.us/department/civil/consumer/4548.html.

Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act - AS 45.50.471-561 – Identifies a number of unlawful business practices, some of which could possibly apply to conduct relating to the acquisition, use, and handling of personal information.  For example, the Act prohibits “conduct creating a likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding and which misleads, deceives or damages a buyer or a competitor in connection with the sale or advertisement of goods or services.”  Also, the Act specifically identifies certain breaches of AS 45.48.010--45.48.090 (see above) as unfair business practices.   See http://www.law.state.ak.us/department/civil/consumer/4550471.html.

Alaska Public Records Act - AS 40.25.110 – Unless provided otherwise, public records of state and municipal public agencies are open to inspection by the public.    "Public records" include those “developed or received by a public agency, or by a private contractor for a public agency, and that are preserved for their informational value or as evidence of the organization or operation of the public agency...”   

Notice relating to request of personal information   AS 40.25.300 – Requires state agencies requesting personal information that may be included in a public record to provide notice to that person.  This requirement does not apply to information exempt from AS 40.25.110, and Alaska law includes many such exemptions.  “Personal Information” is “information that can be used to identify a person and from which judgments can be made about a person's character, habits, avocations, finances, occupation, general reputation, credit, health, or other personal characteristics, but does not include a person's name, address, or telephone number, if the number is published in a current telephone directory, or information describing a public job held by a person.”  The notice must identify the agency, statute or regulation authorizing the request for information, the anticipated use of the information, a statement indicating whether the person must supply the information, consequences for noncompliance, the fact that the information may be subject to inspection and copying under AS 40.25.110-120, and the right to challenge accuracy and completeness of the information. Different forms of notice may suffice, including, for example, placing it on a form used to request the information. [Note: this section of the Alaska Statutes only applies to state agencies.  Check Alaska municipal codes for similar provisions.]

Alaska statues and regulations include some exemptions from the open records provisions of AS 40.25.110-120 and some express requirements that personal information or communications be kept confidential.  Just some of the exemptions/requirements under Alaska law include:

  • AS 04.06.095 - statewide databases of alcohol purchased by/shipped to a person living in a municipality or established village that has restricted the sale of alcoholic beverages
  • AS 40.25.100 - information disclosing the business or affairs of a taxpayer or other person held by the Department of Revenue
  • AS 06.01.025 – records of the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development relating to its administration of the title governing banks and financial institutions
  • AS 06.55.407 - records of Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development from an applicant or licensee under the Uniform Money Services Act
  • AS 08.54.760 – hunt records and activity reports by big game guides
  • AS 14.43.910 – information submitted by educational financial aid applicants
  • AS 15.07.195 – certain information in voter registration records
  • AS 16.05.815 and 16.40.280 – certain information the Alaska Department of Fish & Game collects
  • AS 17.30.200 – controlled substance prescription databases
  • AS 17.37.010 –registry of patients and caregivers relating to medical uses of marijuana
  • AS 18.15.365 – information collected by HSS under AS 18.15.355-395, relating to protection of public health
  • AS 18.50.310 – vital records
  • AS 21.06.060 – personally identifiable consumer information held by the Division of Insurance
  • AS 23.20.110 – records obtained by the Department of Labor & Workforce Development from employers or applicants under the Employment Security Act, and the Department's determinations
  • AS 24.65.120 – investigations by the Office of Victims’ rights
  • AS 27.09.030 – information in support of mining loans under AS 27.09.010
  • AS 28.15.151 – driver license information held by DMV
  • AS 40.25.120 – records of vital statistics and adoption proceedings, records relating to juveniles, medical and related public health records, and some law enforcement records [Note: AS 40.25.120 identifies a number of other types of records]
  • AS 40.25.151 – retirement records
  • AS 40.25.140 – library records
  • AS 43.23.017 – everything in PFD applications except an individual’s name
  • AS 44.81.260- records of a specific borrower, member of, or applicant for a loan from the Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank
  • AS 44.88.215 – certain records (like income tax returns and financial statements) submitted to AIDEA if the submitter requests confidentiality
  • As 46.03.440 – financial records submitted to DEC by the owner or operator of an underground petroleum storage tank system
  • 7 AAC 54.330 – child protection information
  • 8 AAC 98.520 – client personal information collected by the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation\

Alaska Statutes and regulations also include some requirements relating to privacy and confidentiality in specific industries and professions.  Some examples include:

  • AS 06.01.028 – Banks and financial institutions
  • AS 08.04.662 – Accountants
  • AS 08.11.042 – Audiologists and speech language pathologists
  • AS 08.24.250 – Information filed by collection agencies under AS 08.24.210
  • AS 08.29.200 – Counselors
  • AS 08.63.200 – Marital and family therapists
  • AS 08.80.315 – Pharmacists
  • AS 08.86.200 - Psychologists
  • AS 08.88.620 – Real estate brokers and other licensees
  • AS 08.95.900 – Social workers
  • AS 42.20.300 – People who receive or assist in receiving, or who transmit or assist in transmitting, a private communication in connection with work on/for telegraph and telephone systems and cable lines. 
  • 3 AAC 26, Art 5 – consumer health and financial information held by licensees under AS 21 (covering insurance)


Evesdropping - AS 42.20.310 - Prohibits use of "an eavesdropping device to hear or record all or any part of an oral conversation without the consent of a party to the conversation."  Eavesdropping devices are broadly defined to include "any device capable of being used to hear or record oral conversation whether the conversation is conducted in person, by telephone, or by any other means..."

Tort and Contract Law

This summary was prepared by librarians for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide legal advice.