Organization files public records request seeking information about city's plans, procedures, and guidelines for enforcement

NEW ORLEANS – The ACLU of Louisiana issued the following statement today regarding New Orleans’ updated plan to require some businesses to collect the contact information of their patrons as part of the city’s contact tracing process. 

Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana made this statement: 

“We all understand the importance of combating the spread of this virus, but any contact tracing system must be voluntary, transparent, and respectful of people’s privacy rights – and we’re concerned the City’s vague and arbitrary plan fails to meet this high standard. The mandatory collection of contact information from customers raises serious constitutional concerns, including about how this information will be used, the chilling effect it may have on the freedom of speech, and the potential for abuse by immigration authorities and police.

“In addition, the fact that restaurants and salons are required to keep customer logs, but churches, gyms, and libraries are not, suggests the implementation of this order will be both unfair and ineffective in containing the spread of COVID-19. City officials should revoke these requirements or at the very least suspend their implementation until they can give residents the confidence that this data collection regime will be transparent, voluntary, equitably enforced, strictly limited to public health uses, and never accessible to law enforcement or advertisers.”