The Right to Privacy vs. the Right to Know

In Montana, an individual’s right to privacy is balanced carefully with the public’s right to know. The Montana constitution promises to protect the right of every citizen to “examine documents,” meaning the government, as a default, should not hide documents from the public (e.g. court document, meeting minutes, deeds, etc.). However, this right sometimes collides with an individual’s right to privacy. In a recent case, Krakauer vs. Montana, the state’s Supreme Court weighed this very issue and determined that practices like redacting private information from a document can be a way to resolve the friction. Protecting both citizen’s right to know and their right to privacy is critically important and yet still difficult to reconcile.