ScreenDiscussion

Blogging background checking and security issues

4.20.2005

More on Removing Identifiers from Public Records

Jason Morris points out on his blog that more identifiers on case records protects consumers from being accused of crimes they may not have committed. He’s right. It’s absolutely essential to the background screening industry to be able to accurately determine who courts records belong to. I wrote about this before, but I think it’s worth bringing up again.

This is, however, a two-edged sword. Maintaining personal data in the court files helps reduce the risk of accusing innocent people of crimes they didn’t commit, but it also follows that since court records are accessible to the public there is still the risk of identity theft. Anyone is able to go into a courthouse and search the court records, which typically contain names and dates of birth, and occasionally Social Security Numbers of people who have been charged with a crime.

What’s best for the consumer? Should they be protected against false accusation when applying for a job or anything else that requires a credit check, or protection from identity theft via personal information on court records? Maybe court records should no longer be public access. Maybe the Federal government should step in and regulate the access to court records across the country so that only qualified and approved companies and organizations can access them. I don’t know what’s best, but we currently have a lose-lose situation.

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