How Public Should Public Records Be?

Bob Cox writes "A Minnesota Supreme Court advisory committee has been debating for the past year what kinds of court records should be posted on the Web, and it will accept public comment on the issue. In an increasingly tech-savvy age, the committee is drawing delicate lines between personal privacy and government transparency. The committee will make final recommendations to the Supreme Court, which will decide which records to put on the Web.

The committee is using what it calls a "go-slow approach." Members have agreed to keep some data, such as Social Security numbers, off the Web because the information might be used to commit identity theft. They are prepared to recommend that entire documents, such as divorce records and lawsuits, be kept off the Internet and that only overview information, such as court calendars and court-produced orders, go online.
More here from the Star Tribune"


My husband is an architect and although we have frequently made use of our county auditor's site that shows photographs, floor plans and lot layouts (including drive-ways) of all the homes in our county, it makes me feel a little creepy that some techy home burglar could so easily plan an evening's work--his entrance and exit from the house, the neighbor's house and feeder streets!

These records were always "public" but required going to a county office and requesting a specific lot or street or name.

How about requiring people to register in order to get the information, and allowing the owner of the information to see who has requested it?Then you have a record of who requested your floorplans, and the floorplans of your neighbors - so when you *do* get broken into, you have someone to go after...-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

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