THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG
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06/25/08 Just discovered - another Court Clerk spoon feeding criminals on the world wide web. This one is in Pulaski County, Arkansas
(NOTE from the editor of The Virginia Watchdog - 06/27/08 - We have broken the link to the "original" record referred to in this article because the Clerk has now taken down his land records website. If the site goes back up with SSNs on the records, we will reconnect the links...)
It never ceases to amaze us at the stupidity of Court Clerks who have made a conscious decision to post records with people's SSNs on the WORLD WIDE WEB. Some realize how dangerous it is after enough hell is raised and take down the images. But others dig in their heels and refuse to protect the people because they say the records are PUBLIC records.
One such Clerk who has now dug in his heels is Pulaski County, Arkansas Court Clerk, Pat O'Brien. (Note: Please take note that he doesn't even have his own email address shown on his site linked here.)
Clerk O'Brien, who was elected in 2004, has got a court site and a land records site which has tons of SSNs on both.
He realizes he's putting people at risk with these two sites and he even admitted in an email that it was his decision alone to post these records knowing all the while that they contain SSNs, financial account info, and signatures.
He said, "In short, it is a policy decision I made to allow public documents to be viewed online. This is not a legal decision. A different clerk might choose to not make documents available online."
And many other Arkansas Circuit Court Clerks have made the decision not to have records online since they do contain SSNs, but not Mr. O'Brien who has been on line long enough to have had every identity thief in the world download every SSN on his two sites. Identity thieves know all about these sites and there have been linked cases of I.D. theft to these court sites.
On his website found at www.pulaskiclerk.com you can go into the court records side of his site and find literally tens of thousands of SSNs on court records.
You can also click on CHECK REAL ESTATE on that same pulaskiclerk site. You will have to accept the Disclaimer and then you will go to the search page and hunt up any and everyone till the cows come home.
He has Federal Tax liens, mortgages, and other instruments which have SSNs on them. Some SSNs are next to signatures which he's allowing to be stolen and then misused. Some are on the front page of the record like the ones shown below.
Use the "begin date" of 4/5/1999 since that is the date images of records begin to be available. He tells you that on his search page in the box down on the right.
If neither link works just Google Pat O'Brien and Pulaski County,AR. You'll find the sites.
O'Brien's website puts all people at risk - esp. cops, judges, lawyers, other elected officials, and military members.
Some people in Pulaski County have been notified and told about these records showing their SSNs which are open to the world.
If a person calls his office since this all hit the fan, he will now redact their SSN. But how can people call and make the request if they don't even know this is going on?
So only those lucky enough to get a phone call know about their SSN being open to the world. Or maybe if they read the newspaper tomorrow (Thursday) they'll find out and check out every document on his website to see how they have been put at risk by a state agency no less.
Here is an EXAMPLE of a record he has now protected.
Look who it is for. Here's the original record .
Keep in mind that this record and many more have been open to the world for a longggg time.
When Clerk O'Brien comes up for re-election, he needs to be voted out of office by the very people he has chosen to put at risk. He should shut that site down until he scrubs those records on both his sites of all SSNs.
In a conversation with his Chief Deputy Clerk this afternoon, we asked what would someone do if they needed an image of a record prior to 4/5/1999 since they are not available on his site.
The Chief Deputy Clerk, Scott Price, said people would then have to come to the courthouse.
Seems to us that people could drive there to get records filed after 4/5/1999 as well... or does that make too much sense?
Clerk O'Brien, you are spoon feeding criminals world wide and you have shifted the burden of protecting those records to the people instead of taking responsibility yourself. Shame, shame on you. I guess you feel safe though because a thorough check of your own records reveals no SSN for you. Guess you couldn't care any less about everyone else. Your butt is protected!
(c) 2003 Ostergren, P.C. (Page Format Only)