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December 31st, 2002

Don’t Screw with Portlander’s Privacy

The name Gina Hoesly may sound familiar. Back in March, the Portland police officer’s garbage was taken by fellow officers and its contents used against her in a drug case. The problem? There was no search warrant. The police just took her trash from the curb. Worse yet: local law upheld the police’s actions by stating that once trash is put on the curb, it becomes public property. So much for privacy in Portland.

In comes Willamette Week. A few journalists decided that since trash is public property, why not see what’s in the DA’s trash (who is a vocal proponent of using this garbage pulling technique), the police chief’s trash, and the mayor’s recycling (because her trash was near her house, but her recycling was on the curb). They found many foodstuffs, embarassing personal notes, personal pictures, printed e-mails with sensitive information, and a host of other things. Needless to say, the three weren’t terribly happy that their garbage was being swiped and its contents made public. Two of them were infuriated, slinging insults and threatening lawsuits.

Too bad, I say. Too damned bad.

Posted in In the News

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