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Back in July, the founder of The Virginia Watchdog (TVW) brought to the attention of the Assistant Secretary of State and the Clarion Ledger the fact that hundreds of thousands of SSNs were online on the state's UCC search site thanks to the Secretary of State, Eric Clark.  

Below is what was posted on the front page of TVW website about the situation:

7/06/06 - 1410 hrs - The Mississippi Secretary of State, Eric Clark, is spoon feeding criminals by showing SSNs on his UCC search site open to the world.  This morning The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren asked the Assistant Sec. of State, Bill Thompson, to break the links to the "images" of the UCCs, but he refused.   Here is a sampling of records on that UCC search site with SSNs on them:  this one.... and this one.... and this one.  They have over 2 million records on that site and thousands of SSNs.  Pennsylvania Secretary of State and Oregon's SOS both have broken the links to the UCC "images" so why can't Ole Miss?    (Note to readers: We are sure those SSNs on the above documents will now be blacked by that office, but those 3 records will remain on this site until 100% of all SSNs on UCCs on that site have been blacked out or the "images" removed completely.)   Click here to see more records put on line by Court Clerks, Recorders, and Registers of Deeds.  It's being done all over this country and some states are worse than others...  What's online in YOUR state?)
Then on July 14th, the Sec. of State's office shut down the UCC search site when they knew the newspaper was going to have an article about it that Sunday and that people would be furious.   Here is the July 16th, 2006 article that appeared in the Clarion Ledger.

Now TVW has discovered that SOS Eric Clark has again put the records online. 

Due to the "open records" laws in Mississippi, ANYONE can sign up to get into the site even though the notice about signing up to get into the SOS' website misleads people to believe otherwise.   Mississippi law states: 25-61-2. State policy regarding access to public records.  It is the policy of this state that public records shall be available for inspection by any person...

The Secretary of State is a "public body" and the UCC records are "public" records which means ANYONE can sign up to access them with the SSNs on them.  

QUESTIONS:  Why didn't the SOS just redact/black out the SSNs on everyone's records?    Why are they trying to make people THINK that the SSNs are protected?   For $250 for one year, ANYONE can buy hundreds of thousands of SSNs... Under open records laws, you cannot be denied if you want to sign up contrary to what they say in their subscription instructions.   ($250 is a cheap price to pay for several hundred thousand SSNs and even though they are going thru this, there is no protection because once one person signs up, he can let the whole neighborhood in to use his computer and the SOS has then lost control.

But they are not the only elected officials who have put people at risk.  Click here for links to other Secretaries of State who have done the same thing. 

Why are we so stupid in this country?  Why are our legislators so stupid to allow this?  They could pass a law requiring the SSNs be blacked out.  Also in OHIO a class action suit was filed in Federal Court and the judge ruled that the SSNs had to be blacked out but the SOS there still has many thousands of SSNs on that site...






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