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Alameda DA Clears Brown's Office In Privacy Flap

Publication Date: 
February 05, 2010
The Sacramento Bee
Jack Chang

Alameda County's district attorney announced Thursday that Attorney General Jerry Brown's office did not break privacy laws by recording phone conversations with news reporters without their consent.

Brown's office had asked District Attorney Nancy O'Malley to conduct the independent investigation into the repeated recordings made by communications director Scott Gerber, who resigned in November after news broke about his actions.

Ryan Calo, a residential fellow at the Center for Internet & Society, is quoted in The Sacramento Bee on privacy law with regards to Attorney General Jerry Brown's office recording phone conversations with news reporters. Jack Chang reports:

With Brown expected to announce his Democratic candidacy for governor, his handling of the case became a target of media criticism and political attacks.


Ryan Calo, a research fellow and privacy expert at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, said the decision "was not an unreasonable result, but it didn't appreciate the subtleties of the law."

"Just because it's an interview with a public official and it could be published doesn't mean a reporter can't expect confidentiality," Calo said.