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6/09/05 - AN OPEN EMAIL TO THE GOVERNOR OF MISSOURI ABOUT SB 420 PASSED RECENTLY WHICH ONLY PROTECTS A CERTAIN GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS AND THEIR PERSONAL INFORMATION...but doesn't do anything for the ordinary citizen...
I understand from the Jackson County website http://www.jacksongov.org/SpecAdminNotice.htm that a bill (SB 420) has been passed and forwarded to your office for your signature on May 26th which will only result in certain people's personal information being protected in your state on the internet.
SB 420 states: PERSONAL INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET - Section 1 - The act prohibits a court or a state or local agency from releasing personal information of certain elected and appointed officials on the Internet. It shall be a class C misdemeanor if any person knowingly posts personal information on such officials on the internet.
This is a good start but why only protect certain people in your state? Why not protect every citizen in your state and sign emergency legislation shutting down every Clerk's site that has these records available online and also forbid the bulk transfer of these records. When people can walk into a Clerk's office and buy disks of these records knowing there are millions of Social Security numbers all over your state in these records, it puts your constituents at risk and why? So someone can then sell them? Bulk transfer of records in any fashion should be forbidden.
I'm sure the good people of the "SHOW ME" state didn't have in mind showing their personal information all over the internet when they came up with that name. It is insane for the Clerks to put these records online - records they took an oath to protect. Having these records available on the internet is spoon feeding criminals. People should not be fixated on the ChoicePoint mess...or the Lexis Nexis mess and no one has to dumpster dive anymore or even get their hands dirty. No they just have to sit in front of a computer as we do and find these Clerks' sites and there are all the SSNs anyone could want, steal, misuse, or sell. But there are also other things...like children's names, dates of birth, financial account numbers, and SIGNATURES which can be stolen off a computer screen with the click on one computer key!
We also find it amusing that the County Executive of Jackson County, Kathryn Shields, opposes the bill and has forwarded you a letter asking you to veto SB 420. Why is it amusing to us? Because her SSN and her husband's is online in the Jackson County Clerk's website and we are linking to it from The Virginia Watchdog website.
Here is her letter : http://www.co.jackson.mo.us/news/SB420LettertoGovBlunt.pdf We guess she has forgotten that she has those mortgage papers with their SSNs on them recorded in the Clerk's site and they are now on the internet. On The Virginia Watchdog website we also link to other elected officials' records containing SSNs - including Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and others from Jackson County.
We would like to see ALL the people's records in Missouri protected and not just a select few highly placed people. Please do what you can to keep everyone's records within the four walls of the courthouses and not on the internet.... and please stop the bulk transfer of them!
This bill is a good start but it also is really a slap in the face to the ordinary "Joe."
Betty "BJ" Ostergren
The Virginia Watchdog
Here is the exact wording of the new changes found near the bottom of this link and printed below:: http://www.senate.mo.gov/05info/billtext/tat/SB420.htm
Section 1. 1. No court or state or local agency shall post the home address, Social Security number, or telephone number of any elected or appointed official on the Internet without first obtaining the written permission of such official.
2. No person shall knowingly post the home address, Social Security number, or telephone number of any elected or appointed official, or of such official's residing spouse or child on the Internet knowing that person is an elected or appointed official and intending to cause imminent great bodily harm that is likely to occur or threatening to cause imminent great bodily harm to such official, spouse, or child. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.
3. For purposes of this section, "elected or appointed official" includes but is not limited to all of the following:
(1) State constitutional officers;
(2) Members of the Missouri general assembly;
(3) Judges, court commissioners, and circuit clerks;
(4) Directors of state departments;
(5) Prosecuting attorneys and assistant prosecuting attorneys;
(6) Public defenders;
(7) County commissioners;
(8) Members of a city council;
(10) City attorneys and county counselors;
(11) Police chiefs and sheriffs;
(12) Peace officers under chapter 590, RSMo;
(13) Probation and parole officers, and members of the parole board.
4. Upon becoming aware that his or her home address, Social Security number, or telephone number has been made available over the Internet, any person covered by this section shall inform the court or state or local agency of such fact and request removal of such information. Upon becoming aware, the failure of a person covered by this section to notify a state or public agency shall relieve such agency of the obligation to remove prohibited information.
(c) 2003 Ostergren, P.C. (Page Format Only)