Courthouse for Sale – Cheap!
How your private information ends up on computer screens in Pakistan, Nigeria, China and Russia.
David Bloys - News for Public Officials
revolutionize” the way banks, attorneys and title companies do business with local government, the
Red Vision is only one of thousands of companies from around the world that monitor American counties for digitized documents to offer an eager worldwide market. A Google search for “Public Records” returns over eighteen million listings from companies claiming their right to emulate government repositories. These companies download the records directly from county Websites or seize the entire collection of images by Freedom of Information requests.
Among the eighteen million listings, you will find foreign companies like Infinity International Processing Services, Inc. This India-based data-mining company boasts the ease with which they and their allies in China and The Philippines access 400 Counties in the U.S. to process 35,000 detailed reports on American citizens and their property every month.
Also advertising they are cheaper, faster and more discreet than their county sources are the data miners, aggregators and courthouse clones like, Intelius, (WA), CourtRecords.org (Sweden), IdentityCrawler.net (NY), CourtsOnline.org, (OH) and ZabaSearch, Nebraska, WebDetective, (Canada), and Public-Record-Searches.Com (India) .
Intelius, for example, promises to search billions of Public Records to produce an eight- page dossier on anyone in America. The Intelius Website reassures customers, “No one is notified that you are using the Intelius services, including the person you are searching for.” Only American people and information are searched. Foreign customers are invited to pay in advance by check or international money order for profiles on U.S. citizens. While Public-Record-Searches.Com invites visitors to "Access the most complete of its type available anywhere on the net".
CourtsOnline.org promises, "from the comfort of your own home, you can obtain information on job applicants, neighbors, friends, family, even potential dates. In fact, you can investigate anyone living in the United States. You can find out who filed bankruptcy, have judgments or liens on their property, marital and divorce information or arrest records. You can even find out their home and auto loans, credit card debt and itemized cell phone bills while using our legal and completely organized database links."
IdentityCrawler.net brags "One of the largest Public Records search sites on
the web. We link to tens of thousands of Public Records from the U.S.A. You can
get anything on anybody, and you don't even have to hire a private investigator.
You can do it all yourself online"!
Possibly, but the question is not why the records are not altered before putting them on the Internet. The question is why put the documents online at all. Texas law does not require County Clerks to digitize the records or publish them over the Internet. Apparently the Fort Bend County Clerk feels no obligation when the record may reflect badly on her.
Wilson claims to have imaged and placed online all Public Records available at the courthouse but the image of her 1985 traffic arrest (case # 27245) is mysteriously missing. Also missing from the County's online records is Wilson's grand jury indictment for misuse of public funds (expunged). The county has steadfastly refused to publish online or even allow anyone to make copies of the audit that may implicate her in federal privacy violations.
Last year, SmartMoney.com published Your Social Security Number Is Just A Click Away . The article identified companies and government agencies that make social security numbers and other sensitive information available over the Internet. Fort Bend County Clerk Dianne Wilson topped the list under the heading, Meet the Stalkers.
The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from all unreasonable seizures or searches.”
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