O'Brien caves on S.S. numbers | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 27, 2008

O'Brien caves on S.S. numbers

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 10:13 PM

Just in from an evening out I find a news release from County Clerk Pat O'Brien on the recent discovery that public records he's put on-line include some old real estate records that carry Social Security numbers, as was the custom for many years. That's not illegal. And not much of a problem until some nuts on the subject decided to make a point of publicizing it to the point of posting on-line specific Social Security numbers.

Anyway, O'Brien has folded, after talking with the attorney general. I'm not aware of any law being broken by on-line records. But O'Brien is pulling real estate records off the web until they've been cleansed of Social Security numbers. Presumably you can still see them in paper records at the courthouse.  Other court records, some of which occasionally turn up with an S.S. number despite court orders against inclusion of that information, will remain on-line.

If Attorney General Six-gun McDaniel whipped O'Brien into restricting on-line access to public records, shame on him. Too late to find out his reasoning on this. I hope to hear more from both tomorrow.

 

PAT O'BRIEN NEWS RELEASE

Clerk Addresses Public Records Issue

Forges Agreement with Attorney General

(Little Rock, Arkansas) – Pulaski Circuit/County Clerk Pat O’Brien today announced an agreement on the accessibility of public records over the internet. O’Brien met today with staff at the Attorney General’s office and then finalized the deal with Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. The agreement will allow most public records to remain online but will create more protection for real estate records.

"I appreciate the input of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and his office," said O’Brien, "Together, we have constructed a roadmap that ensures the balance between privacy and online accessibility to the records that belong to the public."

The specific compromise is as follows: The Clerk’s office has already taken down the real estate portion of its online records. All other records will remain online. The real estate records will come back online as new software is installed to redact social security numbers. That process could take several months.

"I believe this puts the matter to rest," said O’Brien.

If you have any questions about the press release, call Pat O’Brien at 258-0548.

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