FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

 

In the Matter of a Request
    for Advisory Opinion


 

     Advisory Opinion   #88

Banking Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Applicant

    

 

 

 

On January 22, 1997, the Commission considered and agreed to respond to a petition for declaratory ruling filed by the Commissioner of Banking, State of Connecticut.

 

In his petition, the applicant states that the Department of Banking (hereinafter "Department") is desirous of participating in and gaining access to several national computer databases containing information to aid regulatory agencies such as the Department. As a condition to participating in or accessing these databases, the applicant must promise to honor prescribed confidentiality standards and requirements. The applicant believes that access to the information contained in these databases will be an invaluable tool to help the Department fight financial fraud in Connecticut.

 

In order to ensure that the Department may properly enter into contracts with the regulatory agencies and organizations controlling these databases, the applicant seeks a declaratory ruling from the Commission declaring that the information in these databases, whether available on‑line on terminals at the Department or in records maintained or kept by the Department, is exempt from mandatory disclosure under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.

 

Conn. Gen. Stat. 119(a) provides in relevant part:

 

"Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15."

 

Conn. Gen. Stat. 36a‑21 (a), in turn, provides:

 

"All information obtained by the [banking] commissioner or by any employee of the department of banking shall be confidential except such as should, in the opinion of the commissioner, be imparted in the performance of official duties."

 

The Commission believes that the information the Department would receive or have access to by participating in or accessing the subject databases constitute "information obtained" within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. 36a-21 (a). Accordingly, the Commission believes that such information would be confidential under the terms of that statute. The Commission also believes that 36a-21 (a) provides a statutory exemption to the disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act by virtue of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-19(a).

 

Based on the foregoing analysis, the Commission declares that the information in the computer databases that are the subject of this declaratory ruling, whether available on-line on terminals at the Department or in records maintained or kept by the Department, are exempt from mandatory disclosure under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                      By Order of the Freedom of
                                                                                      Information Commission

                                                                                           

                                                                                ____________________________
                                                                                       Frederick E. Hennick, Chairman

Dated: ___________________

 

Ordered:_________________

Dolores E. Tarnowski,
Clerk of the Commission