News for Public Officials and the People They Serve

Government Scrambles to Take Personal  Documents Offline


Across the country, state and local officials are scrambling to remove documents from the Internet.

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Two years ago, a Judge's Family was murdered in their Chicago home resulting in 100 judges in Allegheny County demanding their  their own names be removed from the county website. Now private citizens will have the same protection ...



Travis County Clerk Pulls County Records Offline


Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has halted publishing the County's document images on the Internet, citing concerns about revealing individual citizens' personal data.


County Website Contains Personal Information
King County, Washington

According to Reagan Dunn, a councilman for the county.

"Clearly this is an avenue that people have been using to perpetrate  identity theft," Dunn said. "It's not thousands of records; it's actually millions of records, millions of pages of records that we have online here in our index.


New Mexico County Removes Records from the Web
Dona Ana County, NM

According to a report from KOBTV-4, county officials removed the information from the Internet because they feared that identity thieves could exploit the records from anywhere they had online access. The documents are expected to remain offline, according to a county spokesperson.


County Blocks Access to Online Records Amid Privacy Scare

Suffolk County, New York

Judith Pascale, the acting county clerk for Suffolk County, New York recently released a statement announcing that her office has blocked access to its online land records following reports that its constituents' Social Security numbers were contained in various documents. 


Judges taken off Allegheny County real estate Web site
Security concerns cited in wake of shootings
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania


Though the decision was made by County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, the initial request to remove the names of judges came from the other end of Grant Street from Chief U.S. District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.


Ambrose, concerned after the murder of a federal judge's family in Chicago in February . . .

Website Flap Impacts any public office handling records containing confidential data
Butler County, Ohio

 The county’s domestic relations judges clashed with the Clerk of Courts Office over the posting of divorce documents on the clerk’s Web site. At issue were Social Security numbers and other sensitive information contained in court documents which are Public Records and were posted online. That drove the judges to remove all domestic relations information from the public’s view on the clerk’s Web site — over the protests of Clerk Cindy Carpenter


Property records available still, but not online
Law keeps public officials off of listings

San Bernadino County, California


Monday, August 08, 2005 - A state law passed several years ago has San Bernardino County officials blocking property information on the Internet . ..

States rush to remove data on residents from websites  

USA Today

States across the USA are furiously removing sensitive data from official websites.

The task highlights challenges facing states with sites full of personal information on residents, from Social Security numbers to bank account numbers.


Scanned documents pulled off Web site

The Lorain County Recorder's Office removed scanned public documents from its Web site yesterday in response to a recent uproar over the possibility of identity theft.


County Recorder Removes Imaged Documents from Online Database
Loraine County, Ohio

On March 23, 2006, Judith Nedwick, the county recorder for Lorain County, Ohio pulled the images of public documents from the county office's Website in an effort to protect Lorain's residents from being exposed to identity theft. The records, which have been online since July 2005, allegedly contained Social Security numbers and many people had alerted Nedwick that this may have put them in danger for having their identities stolen.


County Blocks Access to Online Records Amid Privacy Scare

 According to a statement released by Judith Pascale, the acting county clerk for Suffolk County, New York, the county is highly concerned about invading the privacy of others and, thus, acted to safeguard those living in the county from online exposure.


Senator pushes for data inquiry
Warning that state employees are at risk of identity theft, a veteran legislator said Tuesday that the state must find out if secret personnel records were sent to India, Barbados and possibly China for computer scanning.


Sensitive: When private info is compromised, the public needs to know - quickly

Ingham County, Michigan

This week, Ingham County Register of Deeds Paula Johnson will take 3.5 million images of public documents off line, just weeks after the office became the state's first deeds office to make such documents available online. We'd like to see that sort of timely decision-making replicated in other parts of government, since some bureaucrats are willing to gamble with innocent citizens' identities.


Judge orders removal of deeds from Web

Monmouth County, New Jersey

Until Lehrer signed his order, all deeds and mortgages recorded in the county since 1996 were available on the Internet


Reno Co. lax with SS numbers

Reno County, Kansas

The Social Security number belonging to the county's top law enforcement officer, Sheriff Randy Henderson, is available in Public Records. . .


Personnel data did go to India

Convergys says it was 'misled'; state wants the company to pay
Convergys and the Department of Management Services admitted Wednesday that personnel data for some state employees wound up in India.


Site makes identity theft possible, lawsuit says


A Brown County man filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on Thursday demanding that Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell immediately stop posting on his Web site documents containing Ohioans' Social Security numbers.


Ohioans' info online

Responding to a reader tip, the Enquirer checked certain records on Secretary of State Ken Blackwell's site. The Enquirer is withholding the exact type of data to protect people from identity theft.


“It is a travesty that our elected officials don’t show more concern for the taxpayers they represent,’’ Engel said.

“We as taxpayers need to be assured that our elected leaders aren’t posting our Social Security numbers. We need a guarantee backed by penalties.’


County to study I.D. theft prevention
North County, California

The county itself could be a target, since it collects and retains records that may include Social Security numbers or credit card numbers.


Ohio Official Redacts Sensitive Information from Online Database
Mahoning County, Ohio

Ronald Gerberry, the county recorder in Mahoning County, Ohio is not required by state law to post the county's various Public Records online, but he has done so in order make it easier and cheaper for title examiners, lawyers and others to check information within the county's register. . . .  The numbers are most prominent in the other documents, such as oil and gas well leases, soldiers' discharge papers, federal tax liens and power of attorney records.


Court clerks ask for help in ensuring our privacy


The bill to remove private information stems from a 2002 law requiring county clerks to put records online, giving potential identity thieves an easier way to find personal information.

"There's no way, with the time and effort that it would require, even with a county our size — forget Miami-Dade or Orlando or somewhere big," she said. "If we were required to ensure that every exemption to the statute were not in documents, it would break the state. The cost would be exorbitant."  

The cost of new employees or software would be a bigger burden to smaller counties without surplus funds collected from filing fees.


Online Counties Blow CIA Cover

The Chicago Tribune reported last week on how they easily identified and tracked over 2600 CIA employees using the services of an unnamed Internet data miner.


Data exposure: Counties across the U.S. posting sensitive info online

Computer World


What you should know to protect your family

Shredding your documents and monitoring your credit will not protect you if your local or state government is publishing the same  information on the World Wide Web

Get the Newsletter - It's FREE




Privacy Policy