In a brief filed Tuesday, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman supported New York City in a lawsuit regarding data collected by the municipal ID card program, Politico reported.
In the brief, Schneiderman wrote that disclosing the personal information of almost 900,000 New Yorkers “is a matter not only of local concern but also of state concern, as it greatly increases the risk of identity theft and of hate crimes, and the prevention and prosecution of crime is a quintessential state concern.”
The lawsuit was initiated in December by Staten Island Republican Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Ron Castorina to stop City Hall’s purging of records connected to the municipal ID card program. Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to purge the records to protect thousands of undocumented immigrants who have applied for ID cards. Deporting such individuals was one of the key campaign promises of President-elect Donald Trump.
“It’s ironic that after all the talk of ‘transparency’ during the 2013 campaign season, we have to ask a court to prevent a government agency from destroying its records,” Malliotakis said, according to Politico. “It is unconscionable that the City of New York would distribute nearly 900,000 identification cards, then destroy all the documents applicants used to apply for those cards.”
In the lawsuit, Malliotakis and Castorina argued that destroying the records would violate New York State’s Freedom of Information Law. Schneiderman rebutted this claim by arguing that disclosing the records to federal authorities would undermine the terms the applicants agreed to when they applied for the card. He also argued that the records would be covered by the Freedom of Information Law’s exemptions for personal privacy.
As the brief puts it, “The State has a strong interest in ensuring that FOIL does not become a mechanism for undermining governmental pledges of confidentiality like the one made here by the City to program participants.”