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HB 2426 will be on the Virginia Senate Floor Monday.
If you haven't called or emailed every Senator,
this weekend or Monday morning is the last opportunity.
Situation: Our military men and women are being sent overseas leaving their families in Virginia. Under a program in place right now, citizens' and servicemen's records in many county courthouses are being put on the Internet for anyone in the world to download and use for any purpose. It is up to the Virginia Senate to stop this dangerous program. The House has already overwhelmingly passed HB2426 to stop it, but Senators Houck, Byrnes and O'Brien had the bill amended in committee so as to make it ineffectual. Unless the courthouse Internet records program is stopped, anyone anywhere in the world would be able to download the name, Social Security number, date and place of birth, mother's maiden name, residence address, and children's names and dates of birth of any serviceman or any other resident of Virginia. For details see: http://www.fauquiernews.com
If you see this situation as a danger, please pass this message on and send emails today and telephone calls before Monday noon to as many state senators as possible. Urge them to pass HB2426 and strip off all the Senate committee amendments which allow clerks to continue their dangerous program. Telephone numbers and email addresses are at the end of this message. The bill will be on the floor Monday. Here’s the message I have sent:
There was a vigorous debate on HB2426 February 12 in the Senate General Laws Subcommittee. Bill HB2426 passed overwhelmingly in the House of Delegates. It would control the posting of personal information about Virginia's citizens on Clerk of Court web sites. I'm disappointed that the bill was gutted in the Subcommittee so as to allow private parties to access our personal private information over the Internet with practically no safeguards – they only have to sign an affidavit of their identity, just like the September 11 hijackers did when they got Virginia ID cards. Worst of all the minimal protections won’t go into effect until 2004 – well after our servicemen have left home and gone into danger. Until 2004 there will be absolutely no controls on the posting of sensitive citizen information on County Clerk web sites. And after that the controls amount to nothing.
Posting on the Internet personal private information found in courthouse documents would be dangerous for our Virginia servicemen and women going to war in Iraq. Our soldiers shouldn't have to worry while they are overseas fighting for America that some fanatic terrorist with Internet access is downloading information about their spouses and children at home and plotting revenge. They also shouldn't worry that someone is using their personal information downloaded from the Clerks' sites to set up fraudulent credit card accounts to ruin their families' finances while they are away.
The Committee room was packed Wednesday with highly-paid lobbyists for the County Court Clerks, data corporations, and the Virginia Press Association trying to push information from the Clerks' offices out on the Internet. I’m sure that the vast majority of working citizens, military retirees, and servicemen who could not come to Richmond are very much disturbed at the prospect of their affairs being published to the world over the County Clerks’ web sites.
I urge you to support HB2426 on the floor of the Senate and work to undo the the Senate Committee's amendments that have the effect of allowing the clerks to continue this dangerous practice. The bill should be made to take effect this year, have no sunset date, and should not allow for off-site subscription services.
Please read this timely and powerful AP story published February 11 in Army Times and think of the harm that could be done to us and to our servicemen if such documents were put on the Internet:
Posting of story in ARMY TIMES: http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1582118.php
February 11, 2003
She recently alerted one
soldier who submitted a power of attorney form that included his Social Security
and bank account numbers, which is enough information for anyone to withdraw
money from those accounts.
©2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Virginia Senate Contact List
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(c) 2003 Ostergren, P.C. (Page Format Only)