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  Important news for elected officials and the citizens they serve. Newsletter Archives    April 11, 2006
March 16, 2006 Investigative Report of the Year
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AP Names Article About County Records "Investigative Report of the Year"

Associated Press Judges described the series as,
"A remarkable look at how a zealous county clerk has been selling Public Records and putting people's lives on the Internet . . . "

"The thrust of the story is one of privacy - the Social Security numbers, banking information and medical records - that are suddenly there for the world to see, all because of a county's exuberant decision to save time, money and space by making use of cyberspace."

The prestigious Star Investigative Report of the Year Award was presented to investigative reporters from the Fort Bend Herald for the four-part series regarding personal information being posted on the Internet by the Fort Bend County Clerk's Office.

AG rules against county's attempt to withhold HIPAA audit

We first reported of the problems Fort Bend County has with transparent government in,
County Refuses Open Records Request That Could Implicate County Clerk in Federal Privacy Violations

Texas Assistant Attorney General James Coggeshall ruled last month that the county acted improperly in withholding the audit report.

Among other things, the audit suggests as the result of answers they provided to a series of questions, County Clerk Dianne Wilson and other county officials should review HIPAA regulations and consider whether their offices are in compliance with the federal law.

Read these articles from area papers to learn more:
AG rules against county's attempt to withhold audit report Fort Bend Sun

County wants closer study of HIPAA work Fort Bend Herald

County Attorney Looks To Dallas Firm To Untie County's HIPAA Knot Fort Bend Now

Voting Machine Glitches Plague Counties

Vendors said they were miracles of modern technology. The Feds said you had to have them. Commissioners studied, reviewed and selected the best the taxpayers could afford. So what went wrong?

According to John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org and VoteTrustUSA.Org, "While we have been involved in issues about Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or "touch-screen") voting machines or paper ballots the electronic voting machine vendors have been wreaking complete havoc across the country".

Find out which vendors and counties experienced the most problems. Click Here

TX Comptroller sues A.G. to keep birth dates private

Associated Press

State employees' birth dates should not be accessible under the Texas Public Information Act, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is arguing in a lawsuit against Attorney General Greg Abbott.

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County to study I.D. theft prevention

By: North County Times News Service
April 4, 2006

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

"In the wrong hands, this information can be used for fraudulent purposes," according to a statement issued by the county. "Recent security breaches at local public agencies demonstrate that government is not immune to the threat of identity theft." . . .

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The Border as a Texas Sheriff Sees It

Sheriff A. D’Wayne Jernigan
Val Verde County, Texas
Written Testimony on "Federal Strategies to End Border Violence" before the Senate Judiciary Committee

All of us are concerned that the border with Mexico is being used as the open door to this country. Most of the illegal immigrants from countries of special interest that are apprehended are apprehended along the southwest border. . .

The areas of Val Verde and Maverick Counties, specifically, continue to see many persons from countries other that Mexico entering the country and being let loose in our counties. . .

The Rio Grande Valley, Cameron, Hidalgo, and Starr Counties, have continuous problems with pseudo- cops coming from Mexico to extort and kidnap citizens in these counties.

Sheriff's Wife Becomes Victim of Identity Theft

Anyone can be a victim of identity theft.

  Just ask Sheriff Lane Carter. His wife had her identity stolen by a woman in New York.

NFPO Update:
Researchers with from North Carolina have notified Sheriff Carter that they found his wife's home address, signature, maiden name, mother's maiden name, and financial account information displayed on the County website.

E-Voting 2006: The Approaching Train Wreck

'Our Elections are Now Officially 'A National Disaster in the Making' By John Gideon, VoteTrustUSA.Org

While we have been involved in all of the issues about Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or "touch-screen") voting machines or paper ballots the electronic voting machine vendors have been wreaking complete havoc across the country.

... Though the vendor, Hart Intercivic, initially blamed the problem on human error, they finally had to admit that it was a programming error and not poll workers ...

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