THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG
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NEWS ARTICLES archives from 2003 thru latest update 11/16/09 about online records and politics
7/27/10 - 1) Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in BJ Ostergren's and this website's First Amendment rights case... Read this Richmond Times Dispatch news article in today's paper. Remember that SSNs are online all over the U.S. thanks to stupid elected officials and legislatures who have allowed public records to be put online without protecting the SSNs. The state admitted that they tried to remove SSNs from the online records systems, but they missed millions... Also here is another article to read about this case written by a lawyer. Pay attention to next to last paragraph... FOOTNOTE: Before the 2008 law was even submitted and then passed in that session, many members of the Virginia General Assembly were told during two committee hearings that their "anti BJ" bill would be ruled unconstitutional, but they didn't listen. The bill was passed and Ostergren v. McDonnell was filed in June 2008... Read more at bottom of this page.
2) Now regarding electronic health records ... your personal health info is being put into electronic format without your permission and anyone can get it. Remember Farrah Fawcett's case where a low end hospital worker got into her info and sold it to the tabloids. If the records had been on paper, that would not have happened. Read this scary but informative article.
What should be put into the health care law should be a line that says "patient consent is required for the use and disclosure of medical records." Will that line be added? Probably not because OUR gov't wants OUR info available online and so now we have lost control of our privacy (which we do have a right to) and the people have no clue this is happening. We should also have to right to "OPT OUT" of having our records in electronic format. Check out this site. No computer is safe or secure... Remember the Virginia Prescription database held by the State Health Dept. that was hacked into last year and millions of records and SSNs were stolen? Well...
12/08/09 8:30 PM EST - MS State Senator Merle Flowers had this to say in a report tonight on WREG TV. His and his wife's SSNs were found on that site...read below posts to see that record.
12/08/09 9:30AM EST - "Sluggo" Davis of Desoto Co, MS admits that he has 500,000 records online and that up to 10% contain SSNs. Well, "Sluggo", even though you don't have as many SSNs online as Leatherwood next door, you still have online at least 50,000 and maybe more since a lot of those Deeds and mortgages contain two SSNs. DUHhhhh. Stupid is as stupid does. But this same thing is going on all over this country. And the Tax Assessor there (Parker Pickle) has a portal to those records that he needs to close. Otherwise he should go too in the next election.
12/07/09 8 PM EDT - WREG covers issue in Desoto County, MS. Both the Chancery Clerk and the Tax Assessor should shut their sites down since both have SSNs on them.
BREAKING NEWS!!! 12/07/09 - MORE STUPID ELECTED OFFICIALS....Following on the heels of the recent mess with the SSNs online in Shelby County, The Virginia Watchdog has discovered that the Desoto County, MS Chancery Clerk, W.E. "Sluggo" Davis, and the Tax Assessor, James Parker Pickle, are also spoon feeding criminals world wide. Here is an example of one record belonging to a State Senator found on the Chancery Clerk's site. And if you miss the SSNs on that record, here are two more (#1 and #2) for the same Senator. There are many SSNs on the sites on deeds from the 90s, mortgages from the 90s and some in the early 2000s, and also on Federal tax liens. Read this to find out more about Shelby County and the SSNs they are spoon feeding to the world. And how many others in that area are doing the same thing? Why isn't either the TN legislature or the Mississippi legislature stopping these Clerks and Tax Assessors from publishing people's SSNs.
12/02/09 - 9:20 PM EST WREG reports today that Shelby County, TN residents are demanding that their SSNs be removed off the Shelby Register of Deeds Property records search site. Watch the video and read the transcript for the latest follow up to their piece from yesterday. Leatherwood still refuses to shut down his site and protect tens of thousands of SSNs. Read our original article on this here. People have to spread the word and make sure everyone in Memphis area knows this is going on. Email all your friends - even if they have left Shelby County or Memphis. And people should be thanking WREG TV - Channel 3 and Scott Noll. He's the one we called and he ran with the ball and covered the situation in depth. Yes, the SSNs are on public records but Leatherwood should have taken off the SSNs before putting them on the internet. This same thing is happening all over Tennessee and your state legisature has done nothing to force the Registers of Deeds to protect the SSNs. They should be ousted also along with Leatherwood. Also keep this in mind - Leatherwood's SSN was never on a document. We looked.
12/01/09 - 8:40 PM EST WREG TV in Memphis covers the mess in Shelby Co., TN where tens of thousands of SSNs are online there... See the video and read the transcript. QUESTION: How would Leatherwood know whether or not someone's identity has been stolen because of his spoon feeding criminals? He wouldn't.
12/01/09 - 11 AM EST - Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood continues to spoon feed criminals tens and tens of thousands of SSNs on his website. This same thing is happening all over the USA - not just in Memphis, TN. Why are we so stupid in this country to allow elected officials like Tom Leatherwood to put SSNs on the internet? It's a veritable treasure trove of SSNs but he won't take the site down or remove the images.
11/16/09 - The latest King of Stupid is TOM LEATHERWOOD of Shelby County, TN (Memphis area) who is spoon feeding criminals worldwide thousands and thousands of social security numbers on his website. Click here to read more and see some SSNs gotten off his site which belong to elected officials Phone calls were placed this morning to Leatherwood's office and he did not take the calls. I spoke to his office coordinator, secretary, and some others and asked them to shut down the site. His office coordinator, Fred Beckham, said "That's not going to happen." I told them they were spoon feeding SSNs to anyone in the world. Apparently, they don't care...
10/24/09 - 1) The Virginia Watchdog educated a reporter in PA about the Lancaster County Recorder spoon feeding criminals and showed that reporter how to find SSNs on that site. He had no clue those SSNs were there until I showed him. There are MANY elected or appointed officials in the U.S. who have SSNs online - including the Supreme Court of VA's "Opinions" site.
2) Computerworld article about my case which started in June, 2008 after the Virginia General Assembly and Gov. Tim Kaine took away my rights to do exactly what VA state officials were doing... and continue to do to this day. I won my case, but the AG of VA appealed and so now the case is going to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Read all about case at bottom of this page.
3) Correct link to Amicus curiae brief filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Now where are all the newspaper associations and their briefs to help me?
4) Here's an article from May 2008 about Riverside (California) Superior court. Update - as of July 1, 2009, the court went to a pay per view site, but did they remove the thousands and thousands of SSNs? NO. Also health info, DOBs, home phone numbers, bank routing numbers and checking acc't numbers are all over that site with SSNs. But they are not the only court spoon feeding criminals.
08/08/09 - noon - DesMoines Register's article about the latest screw up in Iowa where corporation filings having SSNs were open to anyone anywhere in the world.
08/07/09 6:30 PM EDT - THE IOWA SEC. OF STATE, MIKE MAURO, HAS NOW REMOVED THE IMAGES OF CORPORATION FILINGS OFF HIS WEBSITE. THEREFORE, WE ARE BREAKING THE LINK TO HIS AND WIFE'S MORTGAGE DOCUMENT'S IMAGE WHICH HAD THEIR SSNs ON IT. SINCE HE IS TRYING TO PROTECT THOSE RECORDS, WE WILL PROTECT HIM. ACCORDING TO THE SECRETARY HIMSELF IN A TELECON A FEW MINUTES AGO, HE HAS BROKEN THE LINKS TO ALL THE RECORDS AND ADMITTED HE NEVER EVEN KNEW THERE WERE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS IN THEM. HOWEVER, HE WAS ELECTED AS SEC. OF STATE AND IT IS HIS DUTY TO KNOW WHAT HE HAS ONLINE AND WHAT IS IN THE RECORDS - LIKE SSNs. WE CANNOT GIVE HIM A "PASS" FOR IGNORANCE. SOMEONE IN HIS OFFICE SHOULD BE FIRED EVEN IF HE CAN'T BE. IT WAS SUGGESTED TO HIM TO ONLY HAVE A "SUMMARY" ONLINE LIKE THE ILLINOIS SEC. OF STATE.
08/06/09 - Click here to listen to an almost two hour interview of The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren discussing SSNs in online public records all over the U.S. which are available to anyone in the world. The show originated from Iowa. The mess there - thanks to the Iowa legislature and more specifically the Sec. of State, Michael Mauro - was specifically discussed. Sec. Mauro has allowed thousands and thousands of SSNs to be online in "list" form. People from all over the United States are affected by his website. They just don't know it because they never thought Iowa or any other Sec. of State would put documents with SSNs on the World Wide Web. Since Mauro apparently doesn't care about protecting other people's SSNs, then he won't mind if we show one of his own documents that was on the Iowa Recorders' website that he helped to shut down last year. He protected his own but left literally thousands and thousands of SSNs on his own state website.
06/12/09 - "Virginia's computer czar was fired hours after he questioned a multimillion-dollar monthly bill from the giant company that the state is paying $2.3 billion for information technology services." Please read the whole article. That private company holds all our personal information like SSNs. Thank you U.S. Sen. Mark Warner for getting us into this screwed up mess that is costing VA taxpayers billions. :( Also go to more articles in our news archives...
06/09/09 - Roanoke Times' editorial: "Now safeguard the information..."
06/04/09 -1) Richmond Times-Dispatch's Michael Paul Williams says "State must stop fighting privacy activist" 2) Remember the hacking of the records held by the State's Prescription Monitoring Program. There were SSNs in those records and now the state is sending out over 531,000 letters to people. Too little, too late? Why does the "state" have to know our private medical business anyway? Because of some drug addicts, everybody's info gets sent to the state and then put in a database and put at risk? Seems so... Another idiot law. Go to our archives for more articles.
06/03/09 - ACLU Press release re: Betty Ostergren v. Robert McDonnell, in his official capacity as Attorney General
BREAKING NEWS - 06/02/09 6:30 PM EDT - We won! Legislators in VA voted to allow citizens' public records on the internet complete with SSNs and other personal information, but when BJ Ostergren published their public records on this site, they got mad and passed a law aimed directly at her and The Virginia Watchdog website. Their intention was to shut her up and take away her First Amendment rights. So one year ago, we brought suit against former Att. Gen. Robert McDonnell. Today Federal Judge Robert Payne rendered this Memorandum Opinion and Injunctive Order in that lawsuit. A clear, unequivocal victory for this website and BJ. The ACLU represented us and we would like people to donate to them now. Richmond Times-Dispatch has this article about the decision.
Also read the previous Memorandum Opinion rendered August 22, 2008. The judge doesn't address out-of-state documents, but the AG has asserted on the record that he will not enforce the statute regarding such records.
05/29/09 - For Hanover County Residents. Also the Dept of Health Professions is removing SSNs from the Prescription Monitoring Program records that were recently hacked. Pay attention to the second question, third paragraph. A "minority" could be 49% of 35 million. That's still a lot of SSNs... Letters should be sent to everyone who is in that database.
05/08/09 - If the database records are now in the hands of a hacker, then everyone whose info is in there is at risk of medical identity theft. Also state officials urge people to remain vigilant over the next 12-24 months. Also read this article where it says optional data was Social Security numbers. And this article in Health IT News. Will affected people in the database get notice from the state? Read this about the law that took effect 7/1/08 about notice. Everyone who thinks any info was in this database about them should file a FOIA request to DHP to see exactly what info was in the database about them. You have the right to know.
05/06/09 update 9PM - 1) Here is what Gov. Tim Kaine said about the hacking: "The information was protected, but people get innovative and they figure out ways around the protections that are in place, and that means we've got to always be diligent and try to find new strategies to keep people from getting information that is sensitive." DUHhhh, ya think, Governor? This was just Rx info with SSNs and DOBs, and names of drugs, but hey Gov., you and your buddy Obama and also the Virginia General Assembly are pushing for all our medical records/lives to be accessible on the internet. 2) Here's an editorial in The Roanoke Times about this mess.
05/06/09 - AND ON TOP OF THE HACKING LAST WEEK HERE IN VIRGINIA, WE FIND OUT THAT ANYONE WHO HAS HAD A PRESCRIPTION FILLED AT A VIRGINIA PHARMACY IS NOW AT RISK SINCE THE COMPUTER SYSTEM CONTAINING PERSONAL INFO LIKE SSNs HAS APPARENTLY BEEN HACKED. AND TO THINK THAT THE VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WANTS ALL OUR MEDICAL RECORDS PUT IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT (ONLINE) SO THEY CAN BE HACKED, TOO.
THE VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSED THIS BILL IN 2005 ALLOWING THE "PRESCRIPTION MONITORING PROGRAM" TO BE CREATED TO TRACK PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSERS AND TO STOP DOCTOR SHOPPING. THERE IS NO MANDATE IN THE BILL FOR SECURING OR ENCRYPTING THE DATE NOR ANY REFERENCE TO A LOWER LEVEL IT POLICY STATING HOW INFO SHOULD BE COLLECTED. WHAT EXPERIENCE DID SEN. WILLIAM C. WAMPLER, JR OR SEN. MAMIE LOCKE HAVE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OR SECURITY TO CO-PATRON THIS BILL? (NOTE TO HANOVERIANS: NOTICE THAT THEN DELEGATE RYAN MCDOUGLE - NOW SENATOR - AND ALSO RETIRING DELEGATE FRANK HARGROVE, SR VOTED FOR THE BILL IN THE HOUSE AND THAT THEN SENATOR BILL BOLLING - NOW LT. GOV. - VOTED FOR IT IN THE SENATE. IT WAS SIGNED INTO LAW BY THEN GOVERNOR MARK WARNER - NOW A U.S. SENATOR.
AS OF JANUARY 1, 2009, THERE WERE 31.6 MILLION RECORDS IN THE DATABASE TRACKING THE USAGE OF SCHEDULE II, III, AND IV CLASS DRUGS. WITH THIS INFORMATION, ANYONE CAN PUT TOGETHER YOUR HEALTH HISTORY. EXAMPLES OF DRUGS TRACKED ARE RITALIN, METHACODONE, TYLENOL WITH CODEINE, PERCOCET, PERCODAN, VALIUM, AND AMBIEN TO NAME A FEW. BUT THERE ARE MANY MORE.
HERE'S VA LAW PERTAINING TO THE PROGRAM . HERE IS VA LAW REGARDING CONFIDENTIALITY OF DATA . DOESN'T MENTION HACKERS THOUGH...
IF THE PENTAGON AND THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION COULD BE HACKED ALONG WITH MANY OTHER SYSTEMS, IS THERE REALLY ANY SYSTEM THAT IS SAFE. WE SAY "NO"!!! PEOPLE HAD BETTER GET INVOLVED TO STOP ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS. THE ONLY PEOPLE PUSHING FOR IT ARE THE ONES WHO STAND TO GAIN BIG $$$. BUT HACKERS CAN SELL THE SSNs, DOBs, AND YOUR NAMES AND ADDRESSES... WE HAVE BEEN PUT AT RISK AGAIN BY OUR OWN LEGISLATORS.
HERE'S AN ARTICLE FROM 2005 ABOUT HOW IOWA WANTED TO HAVE A Rx DATABASE AND PEOPLE THERE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT PRIVACY WHICH APPARENTLY OUR VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WASN'T CONCERNED ABOUT OR EVEN OUR GOVERNOR. HERE'S ANOTHER ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST FROM 2008 ABOUT ONLINE Rx RECORDS. HERE'S ANOTHER ARTICLE IN FLORIDA THAT TALKS ABOUT A BILL THERE TO CREATE A Rx DATABASE. HERE'S AN ARTICLE IN THE ARIZONIAN ABOUT A PRESCRIPTION DATABASE THERE. SO BOTTOM LINE IS THAT ALL OUR INFORMATION IS BEING PUT AT RISK BECAUSE OF SOME DRUG ABUSERS? AND IS IT TRUE THAT A PRIVATE COMPANY IN A 10 YEAR, $2 BILLION DEAL REALLY
05/01/09 - Hackers may have infiltrated Virginia medical professionals information. This is just another example of why having our personal medical information available on computers is a dangerous, reckless idea. If the Pentagon's computers can be hacked, don't you think that a hospital's computer system can also be hacked into also? The Obama stimulus package passed by Congress in February includes $19 billion to get YOUR medical records online.
04/07/09 - And the Muzzle goes to...a column by Michael Paul Williams of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Virginia General Assembly got an "Honorable Mention" Muzzle award for what they did to BJ Ostergren last year.
04/06/09 - Governor Tim Kaine trashes "right to petition" ... and that follows on the heels of what he did back in March 2008 to this very website. This is the memorandum opinion issued by Federal Court Judge Robert Payne regarding The Virginia Watchdog's, BJ Ostergren's, lawsuit against Attorney General Bob McDonnell last June.
04/01/09- Gov. Tim Kaine signed a bill last Friday dealing with "Freedom of Information Act" requests for public records that will not protect the last four digits of your SSN. This bill protects only the first five digits (see paragraph A), but not the most important - the last four. The bill is sorta like a peeping tom bill that bans peeping through most house windows, but creates a loophole for bathroom windows. The bill does not deal with records held by Circuit Court Clerks' which have SSNs plastered all over them. The General Assembly still has not passed a bill mandating the protection of everyone's SSN on a public record at the courthouse or on a Circuit Court Clerk's website. Go to more articles in our archives.
03/27/09 - (UPDATE 4/1/09: Kaine signed the bill on 3/30/09.) Del. Robert Marshall of Prince William County deserves major credit for sponsoring a bill that will allow VA to opt out of the provisions of the Real ID Act (some call it the national ID card) if state residents' privacy is endangered. Nothing like having the gov't build a database with biometric info and other stuff... Read all about it in this article and then encourage Gov. Tim Kaine to sign the bill.
Sunday, 03/15/09 - James Bovard hits the nail on the head with this one: "Great medical records roundup - The beginning of in-depth surveillance horrors? "
On Thursday, 3/12/09 from 9AM - 10 AM, BJ Ostergren will be a guest on WITF Smart Talk radio (Listen online here) show with host Craig Cohen discussing identity theft and SSNs. Many sites in PA have SSNs online. Harrisburg, PA where WITF is located is in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania where their Recorder is spoon feeding criminals on his web site. Click on "Search our records." One type of record on his website contains SSNs found right next to signatures.
03/11/09 - Read this article which was recently in Computerworld about SSNs and other personal info online that features BJ Ostergren, founder of The Virginia Watchdog. Think your info is safe? Read this from the ID Theft Resource Center. But keep in mind that state agencies are spoon feeding criminals all over the world by having records online that have SSNs on them...
03/01/2009 - Thousands of medical records and SSNs exposed thru file sharing networks...and Obama wants your health records in electronic format today! We have no health privacy.
11/20/08 update - Most people believe that the Privacy Rule of HIPAA protects their personal medical info. Unfortunately that is a myth says Dr. William Yasnoff. But legislatures around the country are forcing a move toward electronic medical records. And will people know when their medical info has been disclosed to someone? No.
11/17/08 - Many state agencies across the U.S. allow people to take computers out of the office which are loaded with personal info such as Social Security numbers... read this article in the News Observer (Raleigh, NC). However, the numbers of SSNs put at risk on those laptops doesn't even compare with the number of SSNs in records made available by remote access by court clerks, Registrars/Recorder of Deeds, and Secretaries of State or records which are public records and available under FOIA laws that contain SSNs... Also update re: Colorado Sec. of State... Records with SSNs are still on his site. See link below to his business site.
10/10/08 - Computerworld covers latest SNAFU on Colorado Sec. of State's business search site. Read more below and see link to site.
10/07/08 - The Colorado Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, continues to have tons of SSNs on his "business search" website. The SSNs belong to powerful execs and other directors of major national companies and on some documents there are up to 100 SSNs along with home addresses. Coffman shut down the UCC search site last month but has left corporate big wheels exposed on this site that he refuses to shut down!
9/29/08 - "...ridiculous, reckless and irresponsible" says BJ Ostergren in a Rocky Mountain News article about Colorado Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, whose office refuses to protect SSNs by shutting down a SECOND site discovered on his webpage. Here's another article in the Grand Junction Sentinel about this latest mess in which many "corporation" documents that are on Coffman's site have SSNs on them, but the Secretary refuses to break links to all records until they can all be protected. This follows on the heels of the UCC records which he took off the site recently. Why not these business documents, Mr. Coffman? This same thing is happening all over the U.S. not just in Colorado.
9/24/08 - 1) Sec. of State Coffman has tons of SSNs available for the taking on another part of his business website. They are in articles of incorporation and reports made by corporations. Another snafu. And this guy wants to be a congressman? Maybe that's a good place for him with some other inept elected people that are there. He should shut this site down because it's a veritable treasure trove for identity thieves. His office was notified yesterday afternoon by email of this issue. Let's see how long it takes for him to come to his senses and protect powerful execs. 2) The Mesa County, CO Recorder also has SSNs online on her website that she won't shut down.
9/17/08 - The Colorado Sec. of State, Mike Coffman, came to his senses yesterday (too little too late?) and shut down online access to the UCC record images. We got the same site shut down in March 2007 and Coffman should never have allowed those records with SSNs back on the internet late last year. But he did. The good people of Colorado should hold him responsible for this SNAFU. Also someone should be fired. Now let's see how many other Colorado Recorders take records loaded with SSNs off their websites.
9/16/08 - The CO SOS Mike Coffman pulled docs off line yesterday that contained SSNs while many still remain on his site. BJ Ostergren proved to one of the SOS' employees late yesterday that SSNs remain on other documents filed in other years... Read an article in the Rocky Mountain News about this mess in today's paper. Coffman should resign. Hey you folks in Colorado, remember this fiasco when you vote in the next election. Ostergren was the one who forced them to pull down their site in March 2007 but they went back online late last year BEFORE protecting all the affected citizens. She didn't discover that they were back online until last Thursday and then she set about to get site shut down...again. Read how this happened...
9/15/08 - Montrose Daily Press reports about the mess regarding SSNs on the Colorado Sec. of State's website. SSNs are on that site by the thousands..and they are easy to find in the 2000-2005 records. The SOS refuses to shut that site down even after being told the SSNs are there. Obviously he doesn't care... Why doesn't someone file a class action lawsuit in Federal court and also ask for an injunction to shut the SOS' UCC search site down.
UPDATE ON UCC SEARCH SITE IN COLORADO... 09/12/08 7:15 PM EDT. The Colorado Sec. of State refuses to shut his UCC search site down and protect all the SSNS on his site by doing so. In a conversation with Rich Coolidge, his press secretary, they want ME to tell them where the SSNs are instead of doing them right thing and shutting the entire site down. They want to spoon feed criminals SSNs so we will help them. SSNs are on that site by the thousands...
BREAKING NEWS - 09/12/08- 12:30 PM EDT - A call was made to Colorado Governor Bill Ritter's office to ask him to make some phone calls to the Colorado Sec. of State (Mike Coffman) about the SSNs which are on the UCC search site and are mostly found in the 2001-2005 records. We realize the Governor has no control over the SOS but his office said he couldn't get involved. WHY NOT? Doesn't Governor Bill Ritter care about his constituents and the SSNs that have been put at risk. He could at least call Sec. Coffman and ask him why he's exposing thousands of Coloradans to potential identity theft. We spoke with Sarah in the Governor's office who was absolutely no help. Maybe the Governor should have taken our call himself since this is certainly making him look like he couldn't care less. When these people get elected, do they really think they become royalty? They act like it...
1) Last year on March 29, 2007, The Virginia Watchdog was successful in getting the Colorado Secretary of State's UCC search site shut down. However, we found out just yesterday afternoon that Sec. of State Mike Coffman (R) allowed the site to go back online with SSNs last December. Since yesterday afternoon we have been downloading UCCs complete with SSNs off the search site. It is astounding that his office "tried" to black out the SSNs but failed so miserably by missing thousands. His office was contacted yesterday afternoon, but no one was available to talk about this mess... Sec. Coffman should resign for allowing this to happen.
2) On a better note, the Montrose County, Colorado Recorder, Fran Tipton Long, is breaking links to the images on her land records search site today. The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren called her yesterday afternoon and told her that even though she had broken the links last week to the images of the UCCs and Federal Tax liens her website was still loaded with SSNs on records like Powers of Attorney and mortgage documents. She promised us that her site would be shut down until she can deal with all the SSNs and protect her constituents.
3) Lastly, this Iowa Land Records site was shut down...finally on 9/10/08. It was announced at a press conference this week that they would break the links to the images of records indefinitely until the legislature, the Ombudsman's office, and the Governor can agree on how to proceed without spoon feeding criminals. Governor Chet Culver's SSN was on that site along with many thousands of others. Here is an article from last week in which the Governor's initial call to shut the site down was denied and here is an article in the Des Moines Register about the shut down. But other Iowa Recorders' sites are still spoon feeding criminals.
4) The court side of the Pulaski County, Arkansas Clerk's site is still online complete with potentially dangerous info such as SSNs, abused women's home and work addresses, and illegitimate children's names and dates of birth. The Clerk, Patrick O'Brien, refuses to shut down that half of the site. So now an Arkansas citizen has published emails gotten under the Freedom of Information act and published them. Go to the emails and read them. Most are innocuous, but some... Well, read them yourself.
5) This sort of online records with SSNs mess is happening all over the United States.
09/08/08 - 1) Iowa Land Records continues to spoon feed SSNs to the world. They refuse to shut the site down even though the Governor asked them to pull the plug. This political cartoon by Brian Duffy (published in the Des Moines Register) says it all. 2) In Colorado, a Recorder broke the links to Federal Tax liens and UCCs. A good start but many SSNs remain on that Montrose County Recorder's site as well as many other Colorado Recorders' websites as well. 3) Also... U.S. Sen. Joe Biden once referred to Jesse Jackson as "boy." Wonder if he refers to Obama as "boy?" Hhhhmmm. Sad, but true, according to this column.
9/06/08 - The latest article about the Iowa mess where they have been spoon feeding criminals for years. QUESTIONS for Iowans to ask: 1) How much is the company head making in salary (almost $90,000 we're told thru a " gov't grant") and 2) how much is the company making for each record recorded ($5) and put on the site? People have been telling them for years that there were SSNs on that site To get the point across about how dangerous online records is, make sure to click on "SKIP LOGIN - GET SSNs" on this link and then keep going. It's a hoot but makes great points. This is the link to the real site (Iowa Land records) where the SSNs are but it's offline temporarily. Keep in mind...it's not just Iowa that's putting SSNs online. What we are witnessing in Iowa is happening all over this country.
9/02/08 - 3:15 PM - Is anyone going to pull the plug on this Iowa public records website to protect people who have no clue that their SSN, credit card #, unlisted home phone number, etc. may be on a record on that site? Read this Des Moines Register article about the situation. This same thing is happening all over this country...
9/02/08 - BREAKING NEWS!!! IOWA is spoon feeding criminals worldwide. The Iowa Recorders Association's website found at http://www.iowalandrecords.org is supplying criminals around the world - for free - hundreds of thousands of innocent people's Social Security numbers on "land" records - including the SSNs belonging to Gov. Chet Culver and Sec. of State Michael Mauro and his wife.
8/30/08 - 1) A must read... "Who's reading your medical files today." Farrah Fawcett found out the hard way when a hospital employee sold her information to a tabloid paper even though she sought cancer treatment under an "assumed name." Send this must read article by Sue Blevins to all your friends. Let's take back control of our private medical information. 2) And if someone getting into your medical info wrongfully isn't bad enough, here's a new citizen site about Pulaski County, Arkansas and the online records mess there. Patrick O'Brien, the Pulaski Clerk of Court, has only shut down half of his website but still has his court records site online complete with illegitimate children's names and their DOBs, abused women's home and work addresses, people's personal medical information, and Social Security numbers. The Pulaski County, AR Court Clerk isn't the only clerk across the U.S.A. putting records online with personal information in them. No, it's happening all over this country and The Virginia Watchdog has chronicled the battle to stop it, but, like in Virginia, legislatures seem to want people's personal (albeit public) information online since little if anything has been done to protect the records. Many states' Recorders, Registers of Deeds, and Secretaries of States are spoon feeding criminals Social Security numbers by the hundreds of thousands...and the public has no clue. 3) Here's another article about the lawsuit below. The Commonwealth of VA's legislature passed a bill this past session aimed directly at BJ Ostergren, founder of The Virginia Watchdog, in which they sought to take away her First Amendment rights.
8/25/08 - Betty J. Ostergren v. Robert McDonnell, Attorney General of VA - Read the ACLU's press release and then read the Memorandum Opinion rendered by Federal Judge Robert Payne on August 22, 2008. Hearing was held Aug. 14th. Here is an AP Article and a Richmond Times Dispatch article about it.
7/1/08 - RE: BJ Ostergren's lawsuit (see 6/11/08 news below) re: public records, SSNs, and First Amendment rights filed against VA's Attorney General. Hearing was 6/30/08 in Federal Court. This is in the Virginian Pilot and this is in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
7/1/08 - UPDATE RE: Circuit Court Clerk in Pulaski County, AR. In his Court records website, he still has SSNs showing. One record we found showed a man's SSN 10+ different times... plus he also has home and work addresses of domestic abuse victims, divorce decrees showing minor children's names, addresses, and DOBs! How reckless is all this??? Very...but he says "they're public records."
06/26/08 - 7:30 P.M. EDT - Late today the Circuit Court Clerk of Pulaski County, AR pulled the plug on his land records website due to public outcry about his having thousands of SSNs on the internet and open to the world in those records. Therefore, we are breaking the links to the public records we published in the two articles below which showed certain people's SSNs. But he still has COURT records online loaded with SSNs. Something has to be done about that part of his site. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette is covering this as well.
06/26/08 - Update re: Pulaski County (AR) - The Circuit Court Clerk, Pat O'Brien, continues to refuse to pull the plug on his website. His site continues to spoon feed literally tens of thousands of SSNs to all over the world, but he has blacked out a few. Wonder whose?
06/25/08 - Just discovered - another Circuit Court Clerk spoon feeding criminals on the World Wide Web. This one is in Pulaski County, Arkansas (Little Rock area).
Update - 6/13/08 -Computerworld article by Jaikumar Vijayan about ACLU suit.
Update - 6/12/08 - Dan Genz of the Washington Examiner wrote this article about the Federal Court case involving BJ Ostergren
06/11/08 - Today the ACLU of Virginia filed this Complaint in Federal Court which seeks to protect Betty "BJ" Ostergren's First & Fourteenth Amendment rights after the 2008 Virginia General Assembly unanimously trampled on them by passing two companion bills which will become law on July 1. They were signed into law by Gov. Tim Kaine. Read an AP article published today about the lawsuit.
In a March 15, 2008 AP news article about the bills, Senator R. Edward Houck (D) admitted that the "goal" of the legislation was "stopping people like Ostergren from publishing Social Security numbers" even if they are on public records.
The new law doesn't stop a "public body" (like Circuit Court Clerks) from publishing records with SSNs on them on their remote access systems so in other words, the legislators have passed a "Do as I say, not as I do" law.
The lawmakers apparently didn't like it when we printed some of their records.
Here's an editorial that was in the Charlottesville, VA's Daily Progress in response to that AP article which supports Ostergren.
Ostergren will be on WRVA's Jimmy Barrett show at 7:05 AM on Friday, June 13th. Click here to listen online.
6/11/08 - SSNs are still all over the Riverside Court website on records dealing with Small Claims and Civil cases. Talk about spoon feeding criminals...
5/14/08 - The Press-Enterprise today has this news article by Richard De Atley about the Riverside County (CA) Superior Court which still has their website open to the world exposing thousands and thousands of SSNs. Wonder why the Judge just won't order the site shut down or make it a "pay per view" site? Read more from Privacy Pete about the P-E article See a video about all this mess that someone has put on the internet showing records from that court site.
5/04/05 - More on Riverside Superior Court web site situation re: SSNs and other personal info being on that site... Computerworld posted this latest article "Privacy watchdog ratchets up effort to get county court to block document access" (see documents they talk about linked below in next paragraph) and Privacy Pete has this to say in a post which the CHP Forum has removed, but here it is for all to read...
05/02/08 8:45AM EDT - California should not be considered "a leader" in safe guarding sensitive data since SSNs are all over the Riverside Superior Court Small Claims and Civil Cases web site where over 20 million records can be found. Take a look at these examples of public records with SSNS on them found there - like this one for the Mayor of Riverside... this one... this one and this one which are on that court site for the taking by anyone in the world.
Read a Computerworld article about this situation. Now read "Privacy Pete's" reply to Gary Whitehead's comments in that article. Here is Privacy Pete's original post to a CHP website/forum alerting the CHP to this mess since over 1,000 are affected by the idiocy of posting these records online.
Other personal info like health information, health insurance policy numbers, DOBs, minor children's names plus their SSNs, tax returns with even the "preparer's" SSN shown, restricted police report information, bank account numbers, people's home addresses and phone numbers, physical descriptions of people, signatures, and much much more can also be found with a little patience and know how.
The Court's Chief Deputy Executive Officer/Director of IT, Gary Whitehead, tried to make one reporter yesterday think that finding this stuff was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Wrong, Mr. Whitehead! It's actually like taking candy from a baby.
The Riverside court and others were told several weeks ago that this problem existed when a concerned California citizen (Privacy Pete) alerted them, but no one did much of anything except to get one sealed court case off the court site that should never have been there in the first place.
The site is an identity thief's dream and is open to the world.
A call by us yesterday to the Presiding Judge, Richard Fields, to discuss this issue went unreturned.
UPDATE - 04/28/08 - 2:30 PM - Recently the Riverside (California) Superior Court system has been in the news for tossing out felony cases. Now we find out today that same Court site is exposing thousands and thousands of SSNs (including those belonging to over 1,000 California Highway Patrolmen) on pleadings and other court filings... Read more about the felony cases...
UPDATE - 04/28/08 - 4:30 PM - California a leader in protecting private info? No, No...not after what was discovered today on a state website there. See below post and find out why California like many states is also spoon feeding criminals worldwide.
04/28/08 - 2:30 PM Read this post. The Virginia Watchdog's own BJ Ostergren went into the Riverside Superior Court site today and found many SSNs. What the hell is that court thinking about? The person - "Privacy Pete" - who contacted us about this has tried for over two months to get the documents off that site until the court can at least redact the SSNs since many California Highway Patrolmen's SSNs are there for the world to see. His concerns are legitimate. Also on the same site are mother's maiden names, DOBs, and other personal info. Read this Press-Enterprise article about the felony cases being tossed.
04/09/08 - 9 PM - The Washington Post reports that House staffers in D.C. are livid over the LEGISTORM website which has some of the best info on it about how much the Congressional staffers are paid, trips legislators have taken, financial statements, etc. But it is obvious that the staffers have no clue that Circuit Court Clerks in Virginia as well as two other agencies in Maryland (the State Archives and the Dept. of Assessment and Taxation) are publishing public records with SSNs on them plus lots of other personal info. Also the D.C. Recorder is selling records for $4 a piece. Yep! More info is on those sites than what Legistorm is printing...
NOTE TO READERS : Here's another link to get to the AP story by Dena Potter that was reprinted in many VA newspapers. It is the whole article and not the abridged version some papers re-printed.
03/19/08 - 1:45 PM - Computerworld's article about the new law aimed at The Virginia Watchdog.
03/18/08 - 12:15 PM - The Virginian Pilot's column about the new law aimed at this web site and BJ Ostergren...
03/16/08 - 7 PM - Many states' Court Clerks or Recorders have put records online with SSNs showing. Virginia is not the only idiot state to do this. Here's an article about a county in Oklahoma spoon feeding criminals...
03/15/08 - 5:15 PM - The Associated Press article about the new law targeting BJ Ostergren and The Virginia Watchdog web site. PogoWasRight.org has this editorial - "Virginia plays 'shoot the messenger' and targets a privacy advocate."
03/15/08 - BREAKING NEWS - Was Gov. Timothy Kaine absent from his Harvard Law School class when they covered Constitutional law? Apparently he was since he just signed into law a bill that violates this web site's First and Fourteenth Amendments. Read more...
01/04/08 - Gov. Tim Kaine apparently has no clue as the massive number of SSNs (read this Washington Post article) and personal info that are in court and land records that Virginia Circuit Court Clerks are spoon feeding to anyone with a computer and a few bucks. Kaine wants identity theft bills introduced, but yet isn't planning on dealing with the SSNs in the Clerk's records. Legislation was introduced last year that would have mandated the removal of SSNs in the records, but it failed. We have no clue what steps VA is taking unless this year some legislator steps forward and finally gets something done to protect SSNs in those records. Here is a link to an NBC NEWS piece shown last night with video link.
01/02/08 - Read this WASHINGTON POST article about the government putting SSNs online. And this article about county websites helping ID thieves. When will state legislators wake up? Tell your friends about The Virginia Watchdog website.
09/27/07 - A check this morning shows that the Pasco County (FL) Clerk of Court has now protected the Brownings (see two stories below) and blacked out their SSNs, but he has many more SSNs on his site since most people in Pasco County have no clue these records are even on the internet. It took only minutes to find some this morning. If you live in Pasco County, Florida you'd better check all your records on the Court Clerk's site and then make a request to have your SSN removed... Also coming soon - a complete expose of how Virginia citizens have been duped by our legislators about removal of SSNs on public records. We thought the Circuit Court Clerks would have all SSNs removed off internet records by July 1, 2010, but nope, there is no date...Article coming shortly.
09/23/07 - Ostergren threatened with prosecution in emails from legal counsel to Florida Sec. of State Kurt Browning for publishing Sec. and Mrs. Browning's record that she got off a public website - the Pasco County Clerk's Official Records search site. Read the emails exchanged here. Also...as of late Friday, images of records have now been removed from the Pasco County Clerk's Official Records search site.
09/21/07 - Florida Secretary of State, Kurt S. Browning, still has SSNs on the Florida UCC search site. Since many private citizens' SSNs continue to be shown on that site, then it's only fair to show Browning's own public record complete with his and his wife's SSNs...
07/27/07 - We hate to be the ones who said "We told you so" to all stupid Court Clerks, Recorders, and Secretaries of State, etc who insist on spoon feeding criminals by putting records online containing sensitive personal info like SSNs, but... The Virginia Watchdog has been trying to wake up this country about exactly what is mentioned in this article. At least 27 known victims in this one case, but cops predict there are hundreds more. In May the Franklin County "Recorder" blocked access to many records that contained SSNs but left many online. (Read articles below from May this year about that.) This type of "spoon feeding criminals" is going on all over this country since many Clerks etc have gone online. Oh, and there is a much easier way to find SSNs in those records. That Ohio woman went about it the hard way. The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren has downloaded/printed out over 20,000 SSNs but she has found millions of SSNs on these sites including these. Virginia legislators unanimously passed a law 10 years ago allowing records like the ones used by the Ohio woman to be put online complete with SSNs. It's just taken time to get the records ready for internet access but 58 Clerks offer "remote" access. So since they want the records online, the legislators' records will be posted on this site as we find them. And here's another story about Troy Aikman's and wife's SSNs being found on the Texas Sec. of State's site. And just who told Steven Peisner about the SSNs on that site? BJ Ostergren, who would like to thank Steven for helping her out in trying to get that site shut down. But a note to Aikman...You're still at risk because your SSN is STILL on a Clerk's site...
07/20/07 - Houston Chronicle article about SSNs on Texas Secretary of State's UCC search site (Note to readers: Troy Aikman's and wife's SSNs have now been blacked out on the Secretary's site as of late yesterday, but Aikman's SSN remains on another site in Texas put there by an elected official. QUESTION: Did the Aikmans put in the required written request to have their numbers protected? Or did the Sec. of State just protect them but none of the hundreds of thousands of others whose SSNs remain open to the world for a buck a piece on the UCC site?
07/19/07 - Privacy is under attack in many states including Texas where millions of public records have been put online even with SSNs on them. The Sec. of State Phil Wilson is spoon feeding criminals with his UCC Search site which has almost zero security on it. Read this article in PC WORLD. Troy Aikman's and wife's SSNs and hundreds of thousands of other people's SSNs are available for sale for a buck per UCC record on that Sec. of State's site if the numbers haven't already been blacked out for them. Texas Court Clerks have put millions of records online with SSNs and other personal info also. Phil Wilson isn't the only stupid person putting people at risk. Regarding the Clerks' sites, some charge for access and some do not. But The Virginia Watchdog has found Troy Aikman's SSN on another record on a different site in Texas - FREE for the taking and put online by an elected official - the Clerk! Plus we have found Texas legislators' SSNs, too, on the same types of records! The Virginia Watchdog has played an important part in getting SSNs off records and also in getting many Sec. of States' UCC search sites shut down like California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, New York, Vermont, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, and others. The stories about all those can be found below in other articles.
07/18/07 - The Virginia General Assembly has screwed us again. Where were the veterinarians when legislation about dog rabies certificates was going thru? We didn't see them down there speaking against the bill that will allow rabies vaccination certificates to become PUBLIC records, there by allowing ANYONE to dip into your business and find out what dogs you own. The info can be sold by the City and County government. When your dog gets a rabies shot, the vet has to mail a duplicate copy to the Treasurer of the locality where the shot was given and then even though it's a good way to track dog licenses, the rabies certificate now becomes open season and ANYONE can buy the info. But guess who wants this info public so they can get to it and who spoke against a bill that would have allowed the citizens to "opt out" - The Virginia Press Association's lobbyist, The Virginia Coalition for Open Gov't's executive director (who also helped push to get final divorce decrees, deeds, judgments, etc available on the internet), the databrokers who deal in selling our personal info, and the Dog Wardens who asked for this legislation originally. Solution: Take your dogs out of state for their rabies shots. Here's the way one bill could have protected our info HB 2558. Here is how the bill started out (see line 25) and here's how it ended up (see line 25). Keep in the mind the wording at the top that leaves it up to the "holder" of the info at the City/County and says they MAY release the information anyway... "The following records are excluded from the provisions of this chapter [the Freedom of Information Act] but may be disclosed by the custodian in his discretion..." All the info on the rabies certificate is put on the license when you buy it... The tax laws in VA make any info about personal property confidential EXCEPT the amount of taxes one pays but no one is supposed to be able to find out exactly what personal property someone owns. (COV 58.1-3 A) But keep this in mind...when you get a prescription filled, the pharmacist has to report your personal info to "big brother" if it's a certain drug type like pain killers (like darvocet) and narcotics. That is worse than the dog rabies certificate issue... Click here to see what a Schedule II, III, or IV drugs are. All your info including your SSN then is included in a database... Look at the info the pharmacist reports. This program created by our VA General Assembly is supposed to track who is buying those drugs but it's an invasion into our medical privacy.
07/17/07 - 1) Growing number of County officials blame vendors for expunged record "breaches" 2) National agency warns homeowners of deed fraud
07/13/07 - 1) I.D. Theft Watchdog Finds the State of Texas is Wide Open for I.D. Thieves (NOTE TO READERS: But Texas isn't the only state spoon feeding criminals... and the Secretary of State there isn't the only elected official in Texas who has put SSNs on the internet - Court Clerks are putting SSNs and other personal info online, too. 2) Wall Street Journal Online article about "When public records are too public" mentions BJ Ostergren. 3) Ohio Sec. of State still trying to get all SSNs removed off the UCCs. 4) Florida continues to have SSNs online also. A check this morning revealed SSNs still on the FL Sec. of State's UCC website. 5) Why would legislators allow Clerks/Recorders or Sec. of States to put SSNs and other personal info online with all the other databreaches that have occurred? 6) Also read an article about GAO report recognizing ID theft problem and SSNs. 7) And...about the red light cameras which VA legislators voted this past session to allow, read this about an Ohio man who has filed suit over them in Ohio.
06/01/07 - Hey Texas Att. Gen. Abbott, no one has to dumpster dive or break the law to get SSNs and other personal info in your state because Court Clerks AND the Secretary of State are all spoon feeding criminals and putting MILLIONS of people at risk. Why just prosecute Easy Pawn? Names, signatures, SSNs, DoBs, health info, and other info are all on records like judgments, Powers of Attorney, tax liens, mortgages, guardianship papers, final divorce decrees, and UCCs. "Cracking down" as you say is important but what about elected officials who have put records online complete with all the info an identity thief needs to screw up someone's life... If people want to see public records, they should have to drive to the courthouse! Here are examples of records online in BEXAR COUNTY where you filed the suit. #1...... #2......#3...and here's one from Ft. Bend County and all have SSNs on them. And then the Sec. of State there is selling SSNs for a buck a piece on his UCC site to ANYONE who signs up! You must not be too worried about identity theft or you'd help get these sites shut down. Here's Att. Gen. Abbott's video of his press conference yesterday.
05/29/07 - ATHENS COUNTY (OHIO) RECORDER PUTS RECORDS BACK ONLINE. So here are some examples of records that Recorder Scott wants online...including her own complete with SSNs.
05/26/07- Columbus Dispatch article about the Franklin Recorder pulling plug on mortgage records. He'll break links to other records that he has on his site ASAP. NEXT...on to Cuyahoga County Recorder's site next. People are already being called by The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren. If you know where to look, you can find thousands of SSNs. That site should be shut down immediately since it's spoon feeding criminals and has been for years...
05/25/07 - The FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO RECORDER, Robert G. Montgomery is spoon feeding criminals, too, like Athens County was doing and like many Ohio Recorders are also doing by having records online complete with SSNs. The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren has been into the Franklin County site and downloaded different types of records with SSNs, signatures, and dates of birth on them. Almost 30 mortgage companies put SSNs on mortgages in the 90s but they are also on "judgments". Read this article in the Columbus Dispatch by reporter Josh Jarman about the situation. The Franklin County Recorder needs to break the links to the images of the records TODAY! The public has to get involved and get the links to the images broken.
05/20/07 - Here's an article in the ATHENS (Ohio) MESSENGER by Casey Elliott about the Athens County records with SSNs being online. Here's how BJ Ostergren got the links to the records broken...
05/09/07 - IRS proposal could impact millions of internet users. (Note to readers: Clerks and Recorders all over the US are spoon feeding criminals by putting records (albeit public records) online that contain SSNs and other personal info. Some Secretaries of State are also putting people at risk. Click here to see examples of some records that have been found online courtesy of an elected official. Many Clerks/Recorders have records online with personal info exposed, but some are worse than others. To find out what records are online in your county, call the Court Clerk or Recorder and ask them if they are online and what records they are showing...or email us your state/county name and we'll find out for you if you are at risk.)
05/03/07 - Florida lawmakers screw up again. Read Miami Herald article about the date to remove SSNs off internet records being extended to 01/01/11 and in which The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren is quoted . And read a previous Miami Herald article from August 2006 about this situation and comments from Ostergren. Some FL Clerks have redacted SSNs already while others don't even have contracts...Wouldn't it make more sense to shut down those websites until the records are scrubbed of that info? YOU BET! But they shouldn't have been online in the first place. Most states and Washington, D.C. are also putting records online complete with SSNs...Some states are worse than others. Click here for examples of Florida records.
04/23/07 _ The Texas AG is waging war on CVS for allegedly dumping customers' personal info into a dumpster, but what about Texas Court Clerks who are putting records online complete with SSNs like this one...and this one...and this one...and this one and millions more like them? The Texas legislature made it legal for them to put SSNs online AND the Texas Sec. of State is selling UCCs for a buck a piece...
04/21/07 - Federal database exposes SSNs of those who got loans or financial aid thru agriculture programs. (Note to readers - But Clerks of Court, Registers of Deeds, Recorders and Sec. of States have been putting records online that contain SSNs by the thousands and also other personal info. While some states have taken records off line, Virginia legislators are forcing all Clerks to go online with their records. 58 Clerks are already offering online access...)
04/16/07 1) Virginia State Compensation Board pulls $52,280 from Circuit Court Clerk for lying about having records online. NOTE to readers - ANYONE can sign up to access the records since VA law and a December 2002 VA Attorney General opinion say they shall be open to everyone. That article gives another impression that they are only open to those people with legitimate business use. WRONG! Secondly, there is no such thing as a "secure" remote system. But VA legislators think there is. Here are some of their records with SSNs on them. Here are the minutes to the SCB's meeting where they voted to take the Charlottesville CC Clerk's money back after he lied. See pages 14 and 30. I think that's called fraud. 2) IF you missed this last summer on CNN about this situation and The Virginia Watchdog's founder, read this and see video for free now... What you see in that video is happening all over this country... but some states are worse than others.
04/07/07 -1) Massachusetts Sec. of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin doesn't want to protect the UCC records so here's a "HOW TO SEARCH" primer to use on his site and find SSNs... and an example of a state Senator's UCC record with TWO SSNs. 2) Groups call on Galvin to disable UCC site but he refuses.
04/06/07 (1915 hrs EDT) - Read the latest AP coverage from today in the BOSTON GLOBE and the latest article in Computerworld about the MASS mess. Galvin's office would have everyone to believe that this mess will be taken care of in couple of weeks. He's wrong. It will take months. He also says that every year about 5,500 records have SSNs on them. We found them on late 2001 thru early 2005 docs. How would anyone like to one of the approx. 25,000+ whose SSN is on the internet right now? I think that number is underestimated by his office. But one is too many.
04/05/07 1315 EDT - BOSTON METRO covers Mass mess where there are thousands of SSNs on the UCC search site. The SOC sounds like he is trying to downplay the issue.
04/05/07 0945 EDT - Personal data at risk in lost IRS laptops, but Sec. of the Commonwealth of Mass is spoon feeding criminals with his open access to the UCCs.
04/05/07 0830 EDT - Pot calling kettle black? Mass Sec. of the Commonwealth, William Francis Galvin, fined a company in December - Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. of Minneapolis -$25,000 to settle a probe by Galvin's office for a databreach. Well, Mr. Secretary, you continue to spoon feed SSNs to ANYONE ANYWHERE in the world with the SSNs on your UCC search site on documents recorded from 2001 thru 2005...
04/05/07 - Hey, Sec. Galvin, here's an article you should read about medical identity theft. This is what people can do with all those SSNs you're spoon feeding to criminals on your website on 2001-2005 UCC records. You should break the links to the images now. VT, NY, CO, CA, MO, AZ, OR, and others have done so. A "summary" will suffice for commercial purposes. If other states can deal only with a "summary" of UCCs online, then I'm sure your state could do the same. It's going to take months to black out all the SSNs on your site - not a couple weeks like you would like people to believe...
04/04/07 1705 EDT - Government arrogance in Massachusetts! The Sec. of the Commonwealth, WIlliam Francis Galvin, refuses to break the links to the images of records containing SSNs. Here's an AP story by Ken Maguire about the issue in the Boston Globe just put online. There needs to be a class action suit like the one filed in March 2006 in Ohio resulting in a Federal Court judge ordering the SSNs removed from that Sec. of State's site. That also cost that SOS the governor's race last year! (NOTE TO SOC Galvin...Don't break the links to the images because an "activist" from VA asked you to...Break them because it is the RIGHT thing to do!)
04/04/07 - The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth is spoon feeding criminals tens and tens of thousands of Social Security Numbers on the UCC search website. The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren, contacted the Secretary's office at 8:50AM EDT today and requested that all links to the images of the UCC records be broken until they can manually redact ALL SSNs. She also spoke to Dan Wandell in the Corporations Division and went online with him to show him where SSNs are all over the site. The UCCs (financing statements) typically from 2001 thru 2005 contained SSNs or Federal Tax ID # (or both) of the person who was the debtor. These records can be for people who bought mobile homes, Snap-On tools, John Deere equipment, Kubota equipment, Caterpillar equipment...anything really but they "financed it"! How long will it take the SOC to protect the people of MA who are adversely affected by this? More later...
04/01/07 - News story KNXT TV (ABC 15) yesterday about the ARIZONA SEC. OF STATE shutting down their website Friday. Here's an AP story about it. That site should have been shut down years ago...
03/30/07 1600 hrs EDT - Today The Virginia Watchdog targeted the Arizona Secretary of State's website where literally thousands and thousands of SSNs were available on UCC (financing statements) and Tax Liens. The first phone call was made to their office at 0833 hrs MST today asking them to shut the site down or break the links to the images and by 1300 hrs MST, the links to the IMAGES had been broken. The SOS has now protected the records and the SSNs on them! One day - that's all it took and we'd like to thank the Arizona Farm Bureau for its help with this.
03/30/07 - 1) TEXAS GOP calls for TEXAS Gov. to veto a bill giving Court Clerks immunity. and 2) The Virginia Watchdog is now trying to get the AZ SOS Jan Brewer to break links to images of UCCs/State Tax liens which are on her website by the hundreds of thousands. The Virginia Watchdog left a message in the SOS' office about this situation at 0833 hrs MST today about the thousands and thousands of SSNs on that site.
03/29/07 (1945 hrs EDT) - It has just been discovered that the Colorado Sec of State, Mike Coffman, has wisely pulled the plug on his website that was spoon feeding criminals. SSNs were all over the website and available to anyone for free. Here is the link to his Business site (see red writing) about it and his press release put out at 4:56 P.M. MDT. Sec. Coffman has protected thousands of citizens by pulling the plug. Now if only Maryland and others would do the same.
03/29/07 (1530 hrs EDT) - 1) The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren, has been told just this afternoon that the Colorado Secretary of State is not shutting down the UCC and Federal Tax Liens search site. Read more... and 2) Re: Virginia - Richmond Times-Dispatch's Peter Bacque reports that Virginia's legislative information website put over 32,000 citizens' names, phone numbers, and addresses at risk. Thank you, Mr. Charles Hague, for discovering this fiasco and stopping it.
03/26/07 - Dan Goodin of The Register reports California cuts off aid to ID thieves. The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren is currently trying to get Maryland's two sites shut down. SSNs are all over the place on two sites put online by the state Judiciary and the State archives AND the Dept of Assessments and Taxation where the UCCs are. The Virginia Watchdog has been downloading records off both the sites and have called many people about it. Here are links to some sites where UCCs are with SSNs on them.
03/25/07 - More about California selling people out. And here's a TV piece about the California mess. Now let's get Maryland and others like Massachusetts to stop aiding and abetting ID thieves. See more about that under the "Special Notice" on TVW's main page and below.
03/23/07 1315 hrs - 1) California Assemblyman Dave Jones' legislative aide, Soren Tjernell, was educated about the California Sec. of State Debra Bowen's site by The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren on March 1 after contacting her about a California Privacy bill put in by Jones. (See 3/02/07 entry below for more on this.) Ostergren showed him sites put online by elected officials around the country where SSNs are available by the hundreds of thousands and then she showed him the CA SOS site where they, too, were spoon feeding SSNs to the world. Tjernell bought a record for a few bucks and it had a SSN on it. He was astounded. Assemblyman Jones and his office should be thanked by California citizens for then taking this bull by the horn and getting the SOS to shut down. Here is a TV story about the issue , an Orange County Register article, a Sacramento Bee article , a Daily Breeze article and how the site has been shut down but they should even reconsider using the last four numbers because the last four are also keys that will open many doors. This latest follows on the heels of many who have seen the light thanks to The Virginia Watchdog and who have decided to protect SSNs that are on those records. But many like Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas, Indiana, and others remain online. AND 2) the Texas legislature has just kicked the citizens in the teeth there when they killed the law that the Attorney General was relying on which made the Court Clerks shut down their records' sites a few weeks ago which are still a treasure trove for SSNs. Guess the legislators don't care about identity theft in that state. Here is an article about the bill passed by both Texas House and Senate after it was hurriedly introduced and now it heads to the Governor All you Texans should vote out everyone of your legislators for this. Many people have no clue the records are online thanks to Court Clerks and so they won't know to ask to have their SSN protected...
03/16/07 - 1) We already know that our records held by state agencies like Court Clerks and other elected officials are not safe, but read this by Mary Elizabeth Fratini... Are your medical records safe? New statewide patient database raises privacy concerns which is in the Vermont Guardian. Email all your friends to read this article. 2) Also for all you Arizona folks...the Maricopa Recorder is finally removing SSNs from their online records which is a good start, but what about those kids' names, DOBs, and other info in those Divorce papers or on Death Certificates? Helen Purcell has long known she was spoon feeding criminals...Her site was prominently featured in a CNN piece last June. The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren was in the same piece which was shown many times on CNN shows and also on Headline News.
03/15/07 - Congressman Markey calls for stronger privacy protections of medical information. But what about the lack of it with HIPAA? Don't deal with just lost or stolen info...What is YOUR Congressman doing about the lack of protection with HIPAA?
03/14/07- 1) Care about who sees your medical info? Heather Acosta did. And there will be more lawsuits because HIPAA is a joke when it comes to privacy. 2) C/NET NEWS reports... Medical data on 75,000 Empire Blue Cross members may be lost including SSNs. That follows the fiasco in Oct. 2006 when 196,000 people's info was stolen... But keep this in mind - Court Clerks, Recorders/Registers of deeds, and Secretaries of State are putting millions of people at risk by having records on their websites complete with SSNs, DOBs, signatures, fiancial acc't numbers, mothers maiden names, and minor children's names...
03/12/07- 1) Why should any identity thief have to hack, dumpster dive, or phish when Circuit Court Clerks/Recorders/Secretaries of State are putting records online that contain personal inform? Read this New York Time's article about "IDENTITY CRISIS. 2) Charlottesville, VA's Daily Progress article "ONLINE RECORDS STIRS DEBATE" (TVW's note: the City of Charlottesville Circuit Court Clerk certified to the State Compensation Board that he had "remote" access to his records last summer, but this article says he doesn't...)
03/08/07 - CNET News reports Bill Gates urges federal data privacy law. But keep in mind that county Court Clerks and Recorders are going online with records that contain sensitive personal data all over this country.
03/06/07 A story in the HOUSTON CHRONICLE about the TEXAS "online records" mess. (NOTE TO READERS: Records are being put online with SSNs all over this country. What is your County Clerk/Recorder doing? Has your Sec. of State put UCCs online or selling them online? Who is online with YOUR records? )
03/05/07-1415 hrs... 1) COMPUTERWORLD reports about TEXAS and the Clerks' online records with SSNs issue. Texas isn't the only state spoon feeding criminals peoples' SSNs on the records. Some states'/counties' Clerks/Recorders/Registers of Deeds are worse than others about putting the records online complete with SSNs and other personal info. 2) ALSO, DO YOU THINK YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH INFO IS KEPT PRIVATE? 3) More on the TEXAS situation with Court Clerks and SSNs... AND 4) Here's the TEXAS AG's OPINION about the SSNs and online records.
03/05/07 - 1) Hey Arkansas, your state Supreme Court has adopted rules protecting certain information in "court" records , what about those mortgages, deeds, tax liens, etc. (land records) that Recorders in your state are allowing to be sold online. Are SSNs protected in those? Benton, Miller, Polk, & Union's records are being sold online... Click on Arkansas then county names on this link...Cheap price to pay for SSNs. Saline's records are being sold online here. And the Arkansas Secretary of State is selling tens of thousands of UCC (financing statement) records with SSNs on them for a mere $75 per year. What a cheap price to pay for SSNs. Plus they are selling the records in "BULK." AND 2) MORE ON THE TEXAS SITUATION .
03/04/07 - WHEN FIGHTING ID THEFT, BEWARE OF PROCUSTES by Philippe Coueignoux
03/02/07 1) AG's opinion caused chaos in Texas so now Texas lawmakers want to repeal the 2003 law that the AG cited that would protect SSNs (SEE 2/24/07 article links below)... MORE articles on this subject. What are they thinking? 2) CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE (SOS) IS SELLING SSNs FOR A MERE $5. THEY ARE ON RECORDS (UCCs). SOMETIMES THOSE RECORDS CONTAIN TWO SO THEN A PERSON IS BUYING EACH SSN FOR $2.50. THE "RECORDERS" THERE WILL NOT PUT IMAGES OF RECORDS THEY HOLD ON THE INTERNET, BUT THE SOS IS SPOON FEEDING CRIMINALS BY SHOWING THE IMAGES OF THE FINANCING RECORDS ONLINE. MANY UCCs FROM THE LATE 90'S THRU 2005 CONTAIN SSNs AND SOMETIMES THREE OR FOUR ON ONE DOCUMENT... WHAT IS THIS ELECTED OFFICIAL THINKING BY PUTTING THIS STUFF ONLINE? MAYBE THEY SHOULD DO LIKE NY, VT, NM, OR, AL, AND MO WHICH ALL HAVE TAKEN THE IMAGES OF THE UCCs OFF THE NET. AND AS OF TODAY, FLORIDA STILL HAS SSNs ON THE UCC WEBSITE. ACCORDING TO JAY KASSEES WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THE UCCS, HE HAS PAID THE REDACTION COMPANY IN FULL WHICH WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BLACKED OUT ALL THE SSNS. A PHONE CALL TODAY TO HIM BY THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG PROVED TO HIM THAT THE REDACTION COMPANY FAILED IN THEIR MISSION. PEOPLE ARE STILL AT RISK ALL OVER FLORIDA AS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF SSNS REMAIN ON MANY CLERKS'/RECORDERS' WEBSITES AS WELL AS THE UCC SEARCH SITE. ALSO IN OSCEOLA COUNTY, FL ONE CAN FIND TONS OF D/L NUMBERS, CAR LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS, DOBS, AND ASSOCIATED NAME AND ADDRESSES. WHAT A WAY TO SPOON FEED CRIMINALS. ARMED WITH THAT INFO ANYONE CAN GO INTO THE FLORIDA DMV SITE AND WREAK HAVOC ON PEOPLE BY CHANGING ADDRESSES, GETTING DUPLICATE D/LS, ETC. THE FLORIDA DMV HAS BEEN TOLD THEIR SYSTEM IS NOT SECURE WITH ALL THE INFORMATION BEING PUT ONLINE BY CLERKS, RECORDERS, AND THE SEC. OF STATE. BUT DMV'S SANDRA LAMBERT AND HER STAFF IN THE D/L DIVISION WON'T LISTEN. THEY NEED TO ADD A PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER REQUIREMENT LIKE VIRGINIA DMV DOES... THEY MAIL A PIN OUT WITH A RENEWAL. IN ADDITION TO OTHER INFO THEY ASK FOR, ONE HAS TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT PIN... NO PIN - THEN NO ACCESS. 3) CREDIT CARD FRAUD & PHISHING... 4) The pilfering of the PUBLIC record - a must read article...
02/26/07 1) New York Times article by Damon Darlin mentions The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren and was also printed in many other papers across the country. 2) Another article about the Texas online records mess and how the Clerk may be charged for exposing SSNs. Clerks putting records online is occurring all over the country.
02/24/07- County Clerk in Texas slapped by Attorney General ruling - Fort Bend County (Texas) Clerk Dianne Wilson may have violated criminal law by posting Social Security numbers among county records on her office's web site according to an opinion released this week by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says Fort bend Herald. And this was the first of a four part series about this clerk... here's the second... here's the third in the series... and here is the fourth part. This online records mess is happening all over this country and while some counties and cities are pulling records down off the internet because of all the personal info in them, Virginia legislators have passed two bills this session which will require ALL Circuit Court Clerks to be online by July 1, 2008. For more about this issue, read this because right now in VA there are 59 Clerks who have certified to the State Compensation Board that they are currently offering the records they hold by "remote access." ANYONE CAN SIGN UP FOR ACCESS. People should be outraged that our legislators are NOT protecting us.
02/16/07 - The Role U.S. Counties May Be Playing in International Deed Fraud
02/12/07 - A must read by Jeff Shapiro in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the Kilgores of Scott County. Delegate Terry Kilgore is one of the folks who voted for online records. He is also one of five legislators who tried to take away The Virginia Watchdog's First Amendment rights this year in a bill (HB2060 & SB823) that FAILED. Here are examples of public records (his among them) that the VA Gen. Assembly wants available in ANYONE's home... and read about what his twin brother Jerry did in 2003...
02/11/07 - 2000 hrs - USA TODAY "TECH EXPERTS PLOT TO CATCH ID THIEVES" (NOTE TO TVW readers: But keep in mind that state agencies and elected officials like Court Clerks/Registers of Deeds and Secretaries of States are forging ahead (if they are not already online) with putting records on the internet that contain SSNs, mothers' maiden names, minor children's names, DOBs, signatures, and financial acc't numbers and legislators all over the U.S. refuse to stop this runaway train. The Virginia General Assembly is passing two bills this session which will require ALL Circuit Court Clerks to have remote access to public records by July 1, 2008 that are loaded with personal information. To see EXAMPLES OF PUBLIC RECORDS click here. To see how the VA General Assembly also has killed bills this session that would protect SSNs in other records held by agencies like Game & Inland Fisheries, click here.
02/09/07- The Connection Newspaper reports: Social Security [Number] Reform...A bill to protect Social Security numbers will wait for a year, as legislators' numbers go online. (NOTE to TVW readers: The Virginia Watchdog began two years ago to post legislators' and others public records showing their SSNs. There was a move in the VA General Assembly this year to stop BJ Ostergren, but the efforts by Del. Michelle McQuigg, Del. Terry Kilgore, Del. Allen Dudley, Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, and Sen. Jay O'Brien FAILED due to the U.S. Constitution and First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Since they are hell bent on having people's personal information online like DOBs, SSNs, minor children's names, mother's maiden names, and signatures, then theirs will be posted here. More will be added as we get them...)
02/04/07- 1) THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG claims another success! The New York Sec. of State finally - after over FOUR + years of internet access - has broken links to all "images" of UCC records on that website because hundreds of thousands of them contained SSNs... This AP article about the situation appeared in newspapers all over the country like the Washington Post, Cincinnati Enquirer, Mississippi's Clarion Ledger , and the Times-Picayune (New Orleans), Syracuse, NY Post Standard . 2) "Literally in bed with legislators" - a must read in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today by Jeff Shapiro.
01/31/07 - A reprint of an article from January 14, 2004 about VA Registered Voter lists...
01/29/07 - A call to Donald Trump's office today (and three weeks ago)...
01/28/07 - Personal information posted on government websites spoon-feeds ID thieves - Joe Namath's, Ralph Lauren's, and "The Donald's" SSNs all online in NY State along with a few million others'. Kelly Ripa's and husband's were also online but they had it removed with the help of The Virginia Watchdog... Donald Trump's office was alerted also.
01/27/07 - Update on situation in Vermont about SSNs being online. And this one if that link is broken...
01/25/07 - NBC NIGHTLY NEWS report with video... "Online Public Records Facilitate ID Theft"
01/20/07 Here's a newspaper article about VERMONT Sec. of State and the SSN mess by AP reporter Dave Gram... If that links doesn't work try this newspaper which carried the same article.... OR THIS ONE KEEP IN MIND THAT SSNs WERE VERY EASY TO FIND ON THE SOS' SITE...
01/19/07 - 2000 hrs - BREAKING NEWS! The Virginia Watchdog stirred up Vermont today & yesterday regarding the UCCs online that contained SSNs. Phone calls were made to people who had a SSN on a document. Some great contacts were made and the right people got involved (they know who they are) and helped get that site shut down. A check of the site just now reveals that the Sec. of State there had the good sense to break ALL links to the "images" of ALL records. Summaries do remain but SSNs are protected now. Such a simple solution to just have the summaries online and not the images.
01/19/07 The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren, is turning Vermont on its ear by alerting people that the Sec. of State there has put people at risk by having UCCs online complete with SSNs and Employer ID numbers. The site needs to be shut down but is stil open at noon today. Story developing...
01/18/07 Yesterday the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice committee voted to protect cops but NOT abused women, kids and others who need protection! SB1282 now going to full Senate!
01/17/07 - As more and more VA Circuit Court Clerks make their records available online, other states' clerks are pulling them down. Read this and this. Other articles below tell of other counties - like Grant County, Indiana -that have pulled the plug. But VA legislators are hell bent on putting people at risk and continues to demand clerks go online.
01/13/07 - BUT WHAT IS NORTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL ROY COOPER DOING ABOUT STATE AGENCIES AND CLERKS/RECORDERS SPOON FEEDING CRIMINALS??? THE NC SECRETARY OF STATE WAS "GIVING" AWAY OVER 675,000 SSNS ON HER WEBSITE ALONE FREE FOR THE TAKING! READ THIS FROM NEWS 14 CAROLINA.
01/11/07- FINALLY....the General Assembly will at least deal with removing SSNs off court records they're offering online. HB 2062 What's the problem? They're giving the Circuit Court Clerks until 2010 to do so while still allowing the records to be accessed online. They should shut down the sites until Clerks redact SSNs. But what about minor children's names like in Final divorce decrees, DOBs, mother's maiden names , signatures, and financial account numbers? Read this too for a more in depth explanation of this online records mess. DO YOU WANT YOUR PERSONAL (ALBEIT PUBLIC) RECORDS TO BE READ IN ANYONE'S HOME???
01/10/07 - The Ohio Sec. of State still has SSNs on the UCC search site Even though most have been removed, MANY remain! People can't believe it since the former Sec. of State Ken Blackwell's attorneys certified to a Federal court judge that he had removed them all. WRONG!
12/27/06 Who's working in government buildings at night? Here's one story about a county in Texas and illegals. They had the key to the Courthouse, too. We are so stupid in this country...
12/21/06 A must read article about a "Notary." This notary isn't the first one to do something "stupid" and won't be the last. Document fraud and mortgage fraud is a big thing in this country in addition to ID theft...
12/20/06 - Counties work to hide personal data. But redacting documents can be time consuming and expensive says this article in COMPUTERWORLD (Note to readers: Why are our state legislators allowing these records online in the first place with all the SSNs, DOBs, minor children's names, financial account numbers, and mother's maiden names in them. Just make people drive to the courthouse if they want to get into the records. That would save the taxpayers money, too.)
12/13/06 - 1) Richmond Times-Dispatch reports: "The majority of Virginia government agencies are doing an unacceptable job of protecting the huge amounts of sensitive information entrusted to them, according to a state report." (Note: Our Virginia legislators sold us out when they outsourced all state records to a private company, but why should a private company be holding our state tax records, voter registration records, motor vehicle records, etc. not to mention the records that the court clerks hold which have much personal info in them?) 2) CNN reports: Hackers got into UCLA's database of 800,000. 3) Chicago Sun-Times reports: "In a disturbing case of deja vu, 382,000 Boeing Co. retirees and active workers are at risk of identity theft and credit-card fraud because of the theft of a company laptop computer." (Note: Why hack into any website or steal something when Court Clerks/Recorders and Secretaries of State are giving away SSNs on public records?)
12/12/06 - TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS CLERK GOES BACK ONLINE WITH RECORDS - LOTS OF PERSONAL INFO STILL EXISTS IN THEM INCLUDING SSNs...
12/07/06 - Johnson County, NC posts personal taxpayer info online including SSNS according to a report on WRAL but so what! The North Carolina Sec. of State there has over 675,000 SSNs on her website! Click on "individual and then pick a last name to search for. Keep going until you can click on little yellow file folder to open IMAGE of record.
11/29/06 - The New York City Register of Deeds for Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn has broken most links to records containing SSNs.
11/28/06 - THE MARICOPA COUNTY (ARIZONA) RECORDER, HELEN PURCELL, HAS MILLIONS OF SSNs ON HER WEBSITE. YES, THE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS ARE ON PUBLIC RECORDS BUT...
11/27/06 - MISSOURI SECRETARY OF STATE TO FINALLY REMOVE OVER A MILLION SECURITY NUMBERS OFF HER UCC SEARCH SITE (CLICK ON "INDIVIDUAL" AND KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU CAN OPEN THE "IMAGE"BY CLICKING ON THE LITTLE YELLOW FILE FOLDER ICON) . TAKE NOTE THOUGH... SECRETARY ROBIN CARNAHAN BLACKED OUT HERS AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS' MONTHS AGO. LOOK UP ROBIN CARNAHAN'S UCC ON HER WEBSITE. SHE PROTECTED HER OWN SSN, HER MOTHER'S AND ANOTHER FAMILY MEMBER'S SSN, BUT LEFT OVER A MILLION OTHER PEOPLE'S SSNS ON THE SITE WHICH IS OPEN TO THE WORLD! IT'S ONLY FAIR WE PRINT THE REAL RECORD. PAGE 1 & PAGE 2. HERE'S HER PHONE NUMBER (573) 751-4936 (Note: Most SSNs are on records from 2000 thru 2004.)
11/23/06 - NY Governor Pataki signs Consumer Protection bills into effect. While it protects phone records and allows for credit "freezes", it's too bad none protect SSNs (or other personal info) that are on PUBLIC records which are online in county Clerks'/Register of Deeds' records websites and on the Sec of State's UCC search site...If a SSN is on a "public record", then it's fair game and can be open to the world.
11/17/06 Oklahoma State Court system is spoon feeding criminals all the SSNs they could want...
11/15/06 1100 hrs - 1) WTOP reports about IRS MISSING LAPTOPS... and 2) an article about 51 facing Identity theft charges in the Richmond, VA area. Note: Att. Gen McDonnell was one who voted to put personal (albeit public) records on the internet...Records that are a great source for SSNs, DOBs, mother's maiden names, minor children's names, and signatures.
11/15/06 While other elected officials across the country continue to spoon feed criminals people's SSNs that are on public records, the King County, Washington Council has taken steps to protect SSNs on the King County Recorder's site (note the red writing at the top of that page) where tens and tens of thousands of SSNs used to be all over that site like they still are in many other Washington counties. Why dig in trash, steal mail, or break the law getting SSNs when all anyone has to do is get into a Clerk's, Recorder's, Sec. of State's site and get all the SSNs they could ever want. Heck! Legislators in Virginia even passed a special law allowing these records to be put on the internet. They kowtowed to special interests without giving a second thought to what they were doing... and this is how one woman stirred up a whirlwind of opposition.
11/14/06 RE: HBO's "Hacking Democracy" about electronic voting machines . It was shown again last night and was well worth watching.
11/03/06 November issue of DETAILS magazine (the one with Lance Armstrong on the cover) has an article written by Jenny Hontz called "Does Privacy Exist?" which mentions The Virginia Watchdog. (Print edition only.)
11/01/06 1) HEY, SENATOR GEORGE ALLEN of VA, SAY IT AIN'T SO ! When you were Governor, you signed into law a Virginia General Assembly bill which would allow even Final Divorce Decrees (and other public records) to be gotten via remote access from a Circuit Court Clerk's system complete with children's names, SSNs, grimy details, etc. - all except those sealed by a judge. Now today we find you had your 1983 divorce papers SEALED. Say it ain't so. No one can even see YOUR papers at the courthouse much less on a Court Clerk's website. So while most Virginia citizens' personal business/documents can be gotten on a home computer via remote access, your divorce papers from your first marriage will never see the light of day on a computer. That is really two-faced of you! You protected your own butt while putting everyone else at risk of many crimes. Read this from WSLS about how these records can be seen at the courthouse. Not yours though! You've protected yours and had it sealed, but many Virginians don't even know what a sealed record is and so didn't ask to have theirs sealed but a judge probably wouldn't seal theirs anyway. They have no connections like you had. And why didn't you answer questions about it yesterday... and why didn't you call your staffers off that man? 2) U.S. Senator George Allen as Governor of Virginia in 1997 cooked our goose...and then-Delegate Eric Cantor helped. Neither will get my vote on November 7th.
10/28/06 Link to editorial in The Virginian-Pilot about the NAVY CROSS - the nation's second highest award for bravery...and an endorsement by that same paper
10/26/06 1) OHIO citizens screwed again. Where did Lexis Nexis get those SSNs? Probably bought a voter list somewhere. They should 'fess up about their source and tell people who can get access to their site. They make it sound safe... But Lexis Nexis has more states' SSNs than just OHIO's which they are selling just like CHOICEPOINT. They are both data brokers. But them selling them is nothing compared to the state agencies and elected officials who are making images of public records available via the internet. Many County Recorders, Circuit Court Clerks, and Secretaries of States all over the U.S. have online access to SSNs. In those records there are SSNs galore plus other personal info. For example, in that Times-Reporter article it says the OHIO Sec. of State had published 1.2 million on his website for "UCC searches." Well, there are still THOUSANDS there even though a judge ordered the SOS to purge his system of them back in March. What's being done about that? Missouri, Florida, NC Secretaries of State are spoon feeding criminals too to name just three. 2) Hey, ILLINOIS citizens, over 1 million of your SSNs were exposed too Someone's head should roll.
10/24/06 Do away with Circuit Court Clerks? That's what a Supreme Court committee has decided. Keep in mind that these clerks - yes, the same ones who pushed to make YOUR personal - albeit public - records available on the internet - also usually get additional bonuses from Boards of Supervisors on top of their salary from the Virginia State Compensation Board. The committee's proposal to do away with Circuit Court Clerks will never fly, but what be better would be to reduce their terms to four years since they are the only elected official in VA who have eight year terms. People should read some of their audits done by the APA. Here's an article about how they wanted raises even though many get bad audits with links to the audits. (Note: they ended up not getting their way with the raises.) Also... every "county's" Circuit Court Clerk will be up for election in 2007. They should be voted out of office for pushing this online records mess.
10/23/06 MISSISSIPPI SECRETARY OF STATE HAS PUT UCCs BACK ONLINE WITH SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
10/21/06 Ken Blackwell, the present Ohio Sec. of State who is running for Governor (election next month) still has thousands of SSNs on his UCC website. A check of his site on Friday (09/20/06) of just 12 random records viewed by the founder of The Virginia Watchdog yielded SSNs on half of those records. Why are they still there when a federal court judge ordered him to get those SSNs off that website??? AND Greg Hartmann of Hamilton County is running for Blackwell's job but even though he has pulled down many hundreds of thousands of records containing SSNs off his own website, is he in the process of making arrangements to redact/black out the SSNs and throw the records back online showing people's home addresses, signatures, etc. on them? Oh, yes, that's what we hear... You OHIANS should wake up!
10/20/06 THE WEB HAS BECOME A PERSONAL INFO FREE-FOR-ALL This article doesn't even touch on state agencies spoon feeding criminals people's SSNs, DOBS, mother's maiden names, minor children's names, signatures, or financial account numbers... so read this.
10/12/06 The Register of Deeds in many North Carolina counties - like many others across the country - are spoon feeding criminals and putting POLICEMEN and others at risk by putting records online. Now it's an election issue in Rowan County, NC where to search records is open to the world - just like in Mecklenburg County, NC. Here's NC's law about removing certain pieces of info off official public records on the internet that went into effect 12/01/05, but 99% of NC's citizens have no clue their life/info/records are even on the internet. Plus the North Carolina Sec. of State is spoon feeding people's SSNs to the world on this search site- like this "example" of a record with a SSN and there are over 675,000 other SSNs on that site alone. (Note to readers: THE NC SOS blacked out Troxell's SSN on her website over a year and a half ago, but left everyone else's on the UCCs. She should have protected EVERYONE and not just her "friend.") Here is an article about the NC SOS' website and the mess about the SSNs.... and here are more examples of public records found across the country available via the internet.
10/05/06 59 VIRGINIA CIRCUIT COURT CLERKS ARE NOW PROVIDING REMOTE ACCESS TO RECORDS CONTAINING SSNs, DOBs, MINOR CHILDREN'S NAMES, MOTHER'S MAIDEN NAMES, HEALTH INFO, SIGNATURES, ETC. ALL BECAUSE VA LEGISLATORS VOTED TO ALLOW THEM TO DO IT.
10/01/06 QUESTION: What is happening all over this country? ANSWER: Elected officials putting records online that they are supposed to be protecting which have SSNs, DOBs, children's names, financial account numbers, signatures, medical information, and mother's maiden names in them like final divorce decrees, powers of attoeny, guardianship papers, deeds, mortgages, etc. But here's one Recorder who just shut her site down recently - Grant County, Indiana's DIXIE CONNOR who did the right thing and does not have "images" of documents online anymore unlike MARION (Indianapolis), WAYNE, FRANKLIN, LAPORTE, & ST. JOSEPH who are offering public records online WITH SSNs and other info on them. And the Indiana Secretary of State, Todd Rokita, is also selling public records called UCCs with SSNs on them for $4.08 per record and some records contain TWO of them. That is a cheap price to pay for two SSNs.... AND here's a link to an article from this past January about how public records are linked to crime.
09/28/06 1) Hey OHIO voters! GO to www.truthaboutgreghartmann.com Haven't you had enough stupid people who have put your SSNs online as Sec. of State there? Read about one guy running for Sec. of State - Clerk of Court Greg Hartmann - who finally did pull records off his Clerk's website, but it was too little too late. People had already been victimized by ID thieves. And why would you want Ken Blackwell as Governor? He spoon fed criminals, too, and had to be sued to get SSNs off his site, but there are many still on his site. Many states' county Clerks or Recorders have made records available online that contain SSNs! Ohio is not alone... 2) USA TODAY article by Jon Swartz about "several avenging angels" nationwide looking out for ID theft victims. (Note to readers: It is mentioned in that story that BJ Ostergren has "uncovered" 18,000 SSNs. The fact is she has found literally MILLIONS of them on Clerks', Recorders'/Register of Deeds', or Sec. of States' search sites, but has only printed out or downloaded 18,000+ and adds to the amount almost daily.)
09/26/06 Several good articles to read - one about the Clark County, Nevada Recorder being forced to vacate her position and how she is to stand trial on corruption charges for selling Clark County records, one about red light cameras exposing thousands to ID theft in Georgia, and one about U.S. citizens' personal info ending up in India...
09/19/06 - ROANOKE (VA) TIMES editorial worth reading about phone records being sold....
09/18/06 OHIO'S SECRETARY OF STATE, KEN BLACKWELL, CONTINUES TO SPOON FEED CRIMINALS ON HIS UCC SEARCH SITE, but yet he still wants to be Governor. The Virginia Watchdog, who opened this can of worms back in March, has told the plaintiff's attorney, Chris Jenkins, way back in the summer and as recently as August that the Secretary's office had done a VERY poor job of removing the SSNs even though Blackwell's lawyers told the judge the job was complete months ago. TVW continues to find SSNs on his search site and believes there are more than 10,000 SSNs still on that site. Would you like for yours to be one of them? But Blackwell isn't the only Sec. of State who is putting people's SSNs at risk....NY, FL, NC, and others have put records online with SSNs...plus Recorders and Clerks of Court have done the same thing in MANY states' counties.
09/07/06 And where did this guy in this Washington Post story get the SSNs they sold on fake IDs? One treasure trove would be a Clerk of Court's/Recorder's remote access site where there are literally millions of SSNs for the taking plus other personal info and children's names. But legislators all over the U.S want those records online. Records with personal info are going online all over this country...or are already online!
08/30/06 Does any legislator in this country still THINK there is such a thing as a secure website? Clerks of court are allowing records to be accessed via the internet from websites. With all the hackings, one would think that we would keep records with personal info offline...Here are the latest stories. A Reuters column about AT&T being hacked... and this one involving the info of 21,000 student loan borrowers and this one about laptops stolen from Education contractor
08/27/06 1) Miami Herald article today by Monica Hatcher "PUBLIC RECORDS ARE EASY TARGET FOR ID THIEVES" quotes The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren. 2) NEWS FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS has this on how public records ARE misused 3) Two more recent Miami Herald articles about misuse of those records- "Criminals steal houses through deed forgery" AND "Clerks take measures to detect fraud." 4) "Dirty laundry online for all to see" - a NYT's article from 2002. Moehring is the first known ID theft victim by someone who used the Clerk's records to steal his identity...but there have been other documented cases. And 5) Thanks to VCU professor Dr. Gurpreet Dhillon for having BJ Ostergren as guest speaker for his fast track MBA class yesterday.
08/22/06 "How do you know a criminal didn't get in there?" asks Del. Tom Gear of Hampton, VA regarding the database that contained SSNs, names, addresses, and home phone numbers which was open to everyone at the Circuit Court Clerk's office. After the latest breach at AOL, people resigned or were fired. Why hasn't the Treasurer of Hampton resigned over this fiasco? She apparently allowed the computer to be put there and then forgot about it... Did she ever walk to the Circuit Court Clerk's office and check on it herself (like how you would test a locked door after you walk thru it)? Apparently not. Will the Hampton IT department be the scapegoats? They shouldn't be. Treasurer Molly Ward was the "captain" of that ship and should resign. The state police should have been asked to investigate this mess. The City of Hampton has NO CLUE whose or how many records were seen or by whom or for how long. Letters should have been sent to every name in the database as they just were by the state in the insurance agents/SSNs screw up. (See 8/10/06 posting below.) Everyone's record that The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren, looked up had the SSNs there in addition to others' whose SSNs appeared on the same page. Fifteen entries on one page. (see 7/14/06 posting below). It's time for a class action suit in Federal Court about Hampton and the privacy violations...
08/16/06 1530 hrs 1) USA TODAY article about internet privacy. 2) "MACACA, WELCOME TO AMERICA AND THE REAL WORLD OF VIRGINIA," SAYS 2008 Presidential hopeful GEORGE ALLEN who himself was raised in southern California and who is running again for a U.S. Senate seat in Va. this year. Apparently, Senator Allen's mouth was in action before his brain was engaged. It's too bad. He just lost lots of votes for the way he talked to that UVA senior who was raised here. Allen implied "Macaca" had just come to this country with that "Welcome to America" comment. And where is that mohawk Allen refers to? Lame excuse for sure.... A Richmond Times-Dispatch article and a Virginian-Pilot editorial about the situation and the Newport News DAILY PRESS really tells it like it is in an Editorial... "Allen got the laugh he wanted, but it's not so funny." And the Roanoke Times calls his apology lame and says he "slips on race again." And the Daily Progress in Charlottesville has a say... They feel like we do here at The Virginia Watchdog with that Welcome to America remark. If Allen really wants to do something about new illegals coming "to America" then why hasn't he done more in Congress? Our Congress is giving away this country and don't really have our best interests at heart. Read this letter posted right below...
08/16/06 A little off topic for The Virginia Watchdog website but here is a letter to Senator George Allen which everyone should read.
08/15/06 2200 hrs Theft of ANOTHER laptop with case files from Dept of Transportation personnel in Florida. This is second report in one week... Info on it NOT encrypted.
08/13/06 Dallas Morning News - "Online records raise identity theft concerns" (Note: YES, there have been confirmed cases of ID theft and the Clerk's records. That is a fact. Here is one Ohio man who was a victim in this CBS Evening News piece.) And a related piece about Denton Texas records online...
08/12/06 AT RISK! MIAMI HERALD article about 133,000 SSNs belonging to pilots, commercial drivers, and some others on a laptop STOLEN from gov't owned car on July 27 in Doral, FL. A follow up article about laptop in Miami Herald. (NOTE to TVW readers: this number stolen actually pales in comparison to the number of SSNs on Court Clerks'/Recorders' websites in Florida and other states and this site specifically in Florida where there are over a million SSNs - maybe two even three - on documents that former Secretary of State Katherine Harris put online and the Florida legislature and the Governor have done nothing about.)
08/11/06 Insurance Journal has this notice on their website about Virginia Insurance agents' SSNs being possibly compromised due to screw up.
08/11/06 Richmond, VA's NBC12 NEWS covered story about insurance agents' SSNs in Virginia last night (update: NBC12 broke the link to this story when they updated their page.)
08/10/06 Hampton, VA officials don't have the corner on stupidity. This letter was just sent out to 202,000 insurance agents/producers after another SNAFU by a Virginia state agency was discovered. This time its the Virginia Bureau of Insurance who's screwed up and not protected people's SSNs! Here's the PRESS RELEASE put out by the Bureau. But at least they notified everyone. (NOTE: When is Hampton, VA's Treasurer going to notify all taxpayers since NO ONE can tell whose records were accessed, when, or by whom? They'd like for everyone to believe that only three people saw the SSNs on the Hampton Treasurer's computer, but those three people know that's not true and saw others using the same database.)
08/09/06 2010 hrs - At least one person in Grant County, Indiana has some sense. Resident Tim Cain says putting images online is a terrible idea.
08/08/06 AOL: Breach of Privacy Was A Mistake and another follow up article about it today (Washington Post).
08/07/06 1630 hrs - 1) ANOTHER VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION COMPUTER MISSING WITH 38,000 SSNS AND OTHER PERSONAL INFO ON IT (Note to TVW readers - this is nothing compared to the data screw up in Hampton, VA where a database controlled by the Treasurer was unprotected for over 6 months.) 2) FROM CNN - More on passports being vulnerable...
08/07/06 Radio frequency identification technology, referred to as RFID, used in cash cards and passports, can be copied, blocked or imitated.
08/05/06 - A Richmond Times-Dispatch article about woman suing Equifax and winning in an identity theft case - Identity stolen from hospital records (NOTE: TVW would like to point out that Court Clerks' records, too, are a major source for identity theft and there have already been documented cases. But state's legislatures want the records online.)
08/04/06 - More about expunged records ending up in cyberspace (WATCH THE VIDEO) - this one about Miami-Dade County's problems (Note: Records should not be sold in bulk by Court Clerks/Recorders, but are... and this is happening here in VA but people just don't have a clue. 66 more VA Circuit Court Clerks were expected to go online/"remote" last month even though the VA General Assembly gave the clerks until July 1, 2007. Now that would be 57% online in VA with access open to ANYONE who wants to subscribe.
08/03/06 1600 hrs 1) Editorial in the Daily Press says clerks are required by law to put records online and says Hampton has learned its lesson about the data screw up. (NOTE TO TVW readers: To be clear COV 17.1-225 says Clerks "may" put records online (make them available via the internet. However, IF a Clerk scoffed up the Technology Trust Fund money - like they all did - then are mandated to go online. But maybe our General Assembly needs to pass a bill in January and let them keep the money but take away the online requirement since there's more to protect in those records which are OPEN TO EVERYONE than just SSNs. There are minor children's names, signatures, DOBS, mother's maiden names, and also financial account numbers...) 2) Having been a faithful reader of Randy Fitzgerald's columns I am linking to his LAST column which the Richmond Times-Dispatch killed after telling him he could write one... 3) A MUST READ! Dallas Morning News reports about expunged records still being available on court computer system
08/03/06 1) Survey shows problems in handling of SSNs. (Note to TVW readers: Has the Treasurer resigned in Hampton, VA yet for the sloppy handling of people's personal information on a publicly accessible computer that no one checked periodically to see if "safeguards" were in place? Has the city set up a hot line for people to call? Has the city sent out letters to every taxpayer telling them they are at risk? They have no clue how many people accessed those records or what SSNs they saw or printed out. 2) Homeowners warned about fraud risks in California...
08/01/06 Rage against RFID (radio frequency identification technology)
07/31/06 FBI pushes Dept of Agriculture to hand over hacker case - a quote in that article says “The chairman believes Americans have a right to have their personal information protected, and any agency that collects that information has the obligation to make sure it’s secure.” This quote could apply to Hampton, VA's recent screw up, too. The Treasurer, Molly Joseph Ward, put a computer with a compiled database in the Circuit Court Clerk's office then apparently forgot about it and never checked its security. The Clerk when questioned about the SSNs said she couldn't remove "the two columns in that database showing SSNs" because it was "public" information and hers "was in there, too."
07/28/06 2115 hrs Another story about Hampton, VA's data breach on WAVY TV 10 - "Columns after columns of them ...This was a gaping abyss" said Albert Viera talking about the thousands of SSNs there open to anyone who used the computer.
07/28/06 Virginian-Pilot reports on Hampton screw up. (Note to TVW readers: If you feel like it, post your comments at bottom of that article.)
07/27/06 - Daily Press article about Hampton, VA and a Richmond Times-Dispatch article and a Virginian-Pilot article . But read below what BJ Ostergren has to say.
07/26/06 2350 hrs Here's what BJ Ostergren has to say about the Investigation in Hampton, VA about SSNs in computer's database which has been concluded and found not criminal
07/26/06 1430 hrs Richmond Times-Dispatch - Hampton (VA) officials silent on ID breach To read more about this, go to 07/14/06 and 07/15/06 below.
07/26/06 1) 540,000 New Yorkers at risk after breach of SSNs and other personal info 2) E-Health gaffe exposes hospital and SSNs 3) RFID Hacking Underground.
07/25/06 Albuquerque Tribune article by Nicholas Beadles of Scripps Howard -"Time to tweak the SSN?"
07/24/06 1700 hrs - Rich, famous -- and vulnerable, thanks to identity crisis by Mike Freeman of CBSSportsLine.com mentions the founder of The Virginia Watchdog. Also read "Being proactive is best defense against identity theft" on same site.
07/24/06 Washington Post - No drought needed to suck up federal drought funds...
07/20/06 1) Mississippi records online contain SSNs. Did this man's problems stem from online records thanks to Clerks/Recorders... OR the Secretary of State's UCC search site which finally broke links to the "images" of UCCs last Friday that had records on it like this one and this one and this one? See previous 7/06/06 posting below 2) Alleged Maryland Identity thief uses adults' names in addition to minors' SSNs to purchase homes
07/19/06 1) While more and more Virginia Circuit Court Clerks go online with records that contain personal info like SSNs, etc, the Hamilton County, Ohio clerk has shut down his website. But has the Hamilton County "Recorder" done the same thing? Other Ohio counties are online with SSNs. In Virginia the Circuit Court Clerk has control of all records at the courthouse. 2) Florida allows for redaction of the SSN like N.C. but only on a Clerk or Recorder's website but not on the Florida Sec. of State's site where there are hundreds of thousands of SSNs. Here's one Clerk in Fl in Indian River County, Fl who is taking it very seriously. But public records aren't the only records available via remote access...our medical records are, too, but who's reading them? We've gone crazy in this country with remote access to every thing! 3) Hampton, VA data breach may be wider than first thought...( 8/2/06 - Note: the Daily Press broke link to this story.)
0717/06 1) Clarion Ledger's Joshua Cogswell writes about SSNs being found all over Mississippi Sec. of State's state site and mentions BJ Ostergren who alerted him. (Note to TVW readers: Why didn't the SOS office break the links years ago since they knew about the SSNs being on those records? Heads should roll...) 2) Charlotte Observer (NC) article - Police fear being hunted down with real estate records...County mulls obscuring parts of online database (Note to readers: This has been brought up by TVW many times concerning online records like Deeds, mortgages, UCCs, liens, etc. in VA and other states that are putting records and their "images" online - like Mecklenburg County, NC. This newspaper article in the Charlotte paper, I believe, only is referring to the Assessor's records - not the Register of Deeds' records linked here where you can actually see the "images" of records.)
07/15/06 Another Richmond Times-Dispatch story about SSNs on Treasurer's and Commissioner of the Revenue's computer in Circuit Court Clerk's office. (Note to TVW readers: the amount of SSNs on that one computer pales in comparison to the millions of SSNs in the public records that 14 Circuit Court Clerks have made available in records like mortgages, final divorce decrees, tax liens, judgments and which 66 more Clerks will be makingavailable by July 19, 2006 because the State Compensation Board has set that as a deadline even though the General Assembly this past session set deadline for July 1, 2007. Having been into many sites that have "remote access", it is truly astounding that the Virginia legislators - or any other state's legislators - would have allowed this, but they did. But this fiasco in Hampton dealt with SSNs that came from confidential tax information. QUESTION OF THE DAY: Why didn't someone check that computer that was put in the Clerk's office and since the Circuit Court Clerk knew the SSNs were there, why didn't she take action? Time for some resignations? Seems so. Hampton citizens should be outraged and they will never know who ended up with their SSNs. If Mr. Viera was shown the computer on July 5th, how many others knew about it months OR YEARS before then and told their friends who told their friends. If any Hampton citizen has had their identity stolen in the past four years, please email The Virginia Watchdog. )
07/14/06 2100 hrs Chronicle Tribune (Indiana) editorial about online public records issue in Indiana.
07/14/06 1735 hrs - Breaking news! The Mississippi Secretary of State has broken the links to the 2,000,000+ "images" of UCCs on his website today. Read entry below dated 07/06/06 about this site. They are thinking of going to a subscription site but that means that people who can afford to pay will then be able to see the SSNs. What they should do is just redact/black them all out...
07/14/06 (1430 hrs update) Daily Press - "Public computer exposed Hampton (VA) residents' data"....... And Listen to WRVA 1140 AM interview from the Jimmy Barrett Show about the Hampton, VA SSN issue. Also if ANYONE in Hampton has had ID theft problems, please email BJ Ostergren. This issue may be the source...
07/14/06 Hampton, Virginia's taxpayers' SSNs were on a public computer in the Hampton Circuit Court Clerk's office and the computer continued to be used until The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren went there this past Monday to see it. She then got the Chief of Police & the Commonwealth's Attorney involved on Tuesday of this week which resulted in the the police confiscating the computer. The protection of those SSNs - which were not on a "public" record - falls under Code of VA 2.2-3808.1 and 58.1-3 since they were compiled when people paid their real estate and personal property taxes. Not one safeguard was in place. Read this story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Every private citizen's, both delegates', the state senator's, every judge's, the police Chief 's, the Commonwealth's Attorney's, the Sheriff's, all city councilmen's, the city manager's, the Electoral Board, and other elected official's were available that were checked by her... If two people owned the real estate like a husband or wife, or two people owned personal property like a vehicle, then the SSNs were available for BOTH people. QUESTIONS OF THE DAY: If the Circuit Court Clerk knew about these numbers being there, why did she tell Mr. Viera to contact The Virginia Watchdog when he raised questions about the SSNs over a week ago? Why didn't she shut down that computer and call the Chief of Police or ask the Commissioner of the Revenue and/or the Treasurer what they thought they were doing by having SSNs on that computer database which was open to ANYONE who walked into that office?
07/13/06 North Carolina legislators giving the NC Sec. of State a year to remove 675,000 SSNs off UCC site? What are they thinking? Why don't the lawmakers require Elaine Marshall to break the links to the "images" while this is being done like PA and Oregon have done? This is going to cost NC taxpayers $2.4 million... The big question: Didn't anyone in the legislature know about all these records with SSNs on them before they allowed online access? Probably not. Lawmakers in Virginia never thought of the unintended consequences either of allowing the Court Clerks' records to be made available via the internet either...but will take up the matter of removing only SSNs this coming January. Kids' names, DOBs, signatures, financial account numbers, and mother's maiden names will stay...
07/12/06 1700 hrs Hanover County ,VA plays it safe with optical scan voting systems. Read this about Fairfax County, VA. What is your county/city using? Is your vote being counted?
07/12/06 1115 hrs - 1) MAKING A LIST (a blog about SSNsand other personal info on websites)........2) Found your personal info online and how it got there.........3) National Title Association denouces "bulk" sales of records since they end up in foreign countries..........4) Florida Supreme Court weighs in about online "court" records..... 5) Expunged records on the internet - class action suit may be brought....... 6) SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY loaded with SSNs
07/12/06 New ID Theft scam... Phishers tap VoIP in new scam
07/09/06 State of NC finally wising up about the Secretary of State's site that is loaded with about a half million SSNs on UCCs on older records... Here's a link to that website. They should break the link to the little yellow folders where the IMAGES of the UCCs can be pulled up...
07/08/06...U.S. NAVY has screwed up and put over 100,000 naval aviators info online. Just how stupid are we in this country? Very.
07/06/06 This article is for anyone in the Virginia legislature and any Circuit Court Clerk who still thinks there is such a thing a "secure" remote website... Washington Post's story about their computers being breached.
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?)
7/03/06 - 2145 hrs Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People Who Don't Farm ...and here's a link to the database where you can look up the details of what's being given away in your county and state. (Click on your state, then pick a county, then click on "Top Recipients for 1995 - 2004, and then when list comes up, click on each name to get full amount.) Also the OHIO Sec. of State Ken Blackwell has made a feeble attempt to protect people's SSNs on his UCC site. It's nothing to access the site and see the images of UCCs, but a quick search by The Virginia Watchdog turned up MANY records with SSNs still on them in just minutes tonight! He has MANY - maybe even thousands - SSNs still on his site...
7/02/06 - Government agencies are giving out your personal information online every day...Read this article by Doug High, contributor to naplesnews.com (Florida). It mentions The Virginia Watchdog. These sorts of records he writes about are being put online all over this country. Some states and counties are worse than others. Here's a good column in USA TODAY but it doesn't mention the gov't intentionally throwing SSNs online like the Naples News' column does. Note: there are currently 14-15 Circuit Court Clerks online in VA with records and ANYONE can access them under the FOIA and COV 17.1-208 - in other words, no one can be denied access; however, you do have to sign up. But so what! Once a person is in a site they can let any number of their friends use their computer/password. An example is the $25 it cost for one month's access to 27 million Fairfax county records and millions of SSNs... Next online in Virginia are Caroline County (July 19th, 2006) and Rockingham County (about the same time per clerk's office employees). It is only an arrogant Circuit Court Clerk who would even think of going online before next Jan. when the VA General Assembly will discuss removing SSNs off the internet copy...but they serve eight year terms and they feel they're safe in those cushy jobs!
6/29/06 USA TODAY article from 4/23/06 States rush to remove data on residents from websites while some clerks in Virginia are rushing to make records available via the internet and some already have gone online even with the SSNs that they have no authority to remove. Caroline County, VA's Clerk of Circuit Court is slated to activate his "secure" (yeah, right!) remote access system July 19th per Clerk of Circuit Court Ray Campbell who wrote in a letter to BJ Ostergren. He thinks there is such a thing as a a "Secure" site. He also knows there are many county residents who have SSNs on various records that he will be making available to ANYONE who wants to sign up because that is THE LAW. News For County Officials (Texas) has articles about this records issue, too involving Texas. (NOTE: Since this USA TODAY article came out the Florida legislature has given the Clerks ANOTHER year to remove SSNs from Clerk's records. But they remain online and OPEN to the world.)
6/26/06 - Virginians are paying too much in taxes if this much pork can be spread around Look how much the ART MUSEUM OF WESTERN VA got! Virginia legislators are as bad as Congress when it come to pork projects....
6/25/06 The Roanoke Times reports laptop stolen with 228 area residents SSNs and medical info stolen from attorney at conference. (Note to TVW readers - Pulaski and other southwest Virginia Circuit Court Clerks have made records with SSNs in them available via the internet...and there are more than 228 on each of their sites...BUT VIRGINIA LEGISLATORS WANT THESE RECORDS ONLINE AND SO DO THE CIRCUIT COURT CLERKS AND THE ASSOCIATION TO WHICH THEY BELONG. IN FACT VA LAWMAKERS PASSED A SPECIAL LAW ALLOWING THEM TO BE PUT ONLINE - IT'S JUST TAKEN A FEW YEARS TO GET IT ACCOMPLISHED.)
6/24/06 Travis County (TX) Clerk of Court has removed all "IMAGES" of records off her website effective June 19th. Will she keep them off and just leave up a "summary"? OR will she put them back online and show people's personal information like scanned signatures, loans #s, DOBs, etc.? She used to have records on there with SSNs on them by the tens of thousands! But it appears that she doesn't think that people's other personal info is important since this is only temporary... Congratulations to her for finally seeing the light about SSNs though. And thanks to CNN for the great piece which they started airing on June 13th. It woke people up to the dangers of putting people's personal info online. Watch the video they link to in that article (see 4th paragraph).
6/23/06 1940hrs Government, Business Can Do Better With Our Data by Washington Post reporter Rob Pegoraro ..... AND this out of the HICKORY (NC) DAILY RECORD - FOUND ON THE WEB: 619 STUDENTS' NAMES, SSNs by Jennifer Menster and Lauren Williamson
6/23/06 1855 hrs Information including SSNs of 28,000 sailors and their families' found on the internet But The Virginia Watchdog wonders how many SSNs are on a Court Clerk's, Recorder's, Register of Deeds' or Secretary of State's websites put there intentionally by that state agency?
6/22/06 1745 hrs...Could it be that Oregon has seen the light and has broken the links to all UCC images on the Secretary of State's website there and now only has the "summary" online like PA SOS? Seems so since The VirginiaWatchdog called them on 6/15/06 and told them she found SSNs on that site...
6/22/06 - Clark County Nevada Recorder Frances Deane sold 32 years worth of real estate documents for thousands of dollars...
6/19/06 Washington Post article about identity theft. Why doesn't Virginia and 26 other states allow credit freezes?
6/18/06 13,000 District of Columbia workers (current and retired) SSNs stolen. But what will other District (past and present) residents say when they find out that the D.C. Recorder who maintains the Deeds, Mortgages, judgments, tax liens, etc. is selling access to the records where there are many more than just 13,000 SSNs? For a fee, ANYONE can sit in their home and find out anything they want to know about anyone and get scanned signatures, DOBs, home addresses, etc. If an identity theft ring got together and pooled their money, they could pay the fee easily and would only need one month to get everyone's info if they knew where the SSNs are on mortgages etc. What are they thinking about in D.C. and why isn't anyone getting that website shut down?
6/15/06 1430 hrs Another screw up by a governmental agency! Workers' SSNs sold in old cabinets. Woman wants government to pay her $300,000 for them.
6/15/06 Oregon Secretary of State's UCC website still has SSNs on their site even though they have blacked out many...But why not break the links to the records' "images" like Pennsylvania's SOS has done? A quick search by BJ Ostergren in that Oregon site this morning found many UCCs with SSNs still on them. Their office has been advised by The Virginia Watchdog that they continue to spoon feed criminals like Ohio, NC, Fl, NY, and others...
06/13/06 CNN's Paula Zahn show "More of your information might be online than you think" features The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren
06/12/06 - Consumer's Digest has a short article entitled "Your Personal Info Posted Online" which mentions The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren, in the June, 2006 issue. Sorry no online link is available.
06/11/06 6,744 Mustard gas victims' info among stolen data according to the ARMY TIMES - (Note to TVW readers: 26.5 million SSNs being stolen doesn't compare to the millions more than that which are being given away by your Circuit Court Clerk, Recorder, Register of Deeds, Sec. of State, etc. Think about it. That was an unintentional loss, but these state agencies who are giving away SSNs are doing it INTENTIONALLY by making the records they hold available on the internet!)
06/10/06 0830 hrs - IF there is anyone who thinks there is such a thing as a "secure" remote access system after reading this article in the Washington Post about the U.S. Energy Dept's nuclear weapons agency getting hacked, we'd like to hear from them. And for our Virginia readers: make sure your state Delegate & Senator read that article since they believe your personal records stored in the Circuit Court Clerks' offices with SSNs, DOBs, minor children's names, mother's maiden names, home addresses, signatures, and financial account numbers should be available via the internet...
06/10/06 Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Ray McAllister writes "If hackers don't get your ID, government will give it to them." The Virginia Watchdog's founder is mentioned.
06/08/06 Ohio Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell is at it again. Not only is he spoon feeding criminals thousands of people's SSNs on his UCC site (yes, still) but now we find that he has given out about 5 million voters' SSNs to many groups! What is the guy thinking and why do the people of Ohio want him for Governor? And why hasn't the Ohio legislature made him shut down that site?
6/07/06 - A Lansing State Journal Editorial...."Sensitive: When private info is compromised, the public needs to know - quickly" regarding SSNs in online records. The Virginia Watchdog gives three cheers to Paula Johnson, the Ingham County, Michigan Register of Deeds for using her brain and protecting her citizens' SSNs and signatures in those records. She only has online an "index" now.
06/06/06 - An article in the Boston Globe from last year worth reading about SSNs in Deeds, mortgages, etc. in records put online by state agencies. If you know what years for to find those mortgage docs with SSNs, the SSNs are found right beside the signatures of the borrowers...What is Massachusetts thinking by spoon feeding criminals this info?
06/02/06 - What is the Florida legislature thinking about? They have just passed a bill (H1563) moving the date to from this coming January 1, 2007 to JANUARY 1, 2008 for removal of SSNs on documents held by Court Clerks and Recorders (see 7g - Line 254). The legislature is allowing the clerks and recorders to leave the records on the internet for the world to see even with the millions of SSNs on them. Talk about spoon feeding criminals! And they continue to ignore the fact that the Florida Secretary of State is also spoon feeding criminals by showing tens of thousands of SSNs all over that site. Why didn't they give the SOS the right to remove SSNs off the UCCs? DUHhhh.... Why are all these records online with all the ID theft and mortgage fraud going on?
05/30/06 - 2100 hrs- NYTIMES story about people stealing SSNs off Maricopa County, Arizona Recorder's website. (You will have to register for free to get that NYT article). But this sort of info is online all over the country and legislators have allowed it. They should be voted out of office for it...and that Recorder should be ousted, too. She should shut down that website. It's no wonder that one in six adults in Arizona had their identities stolen in the last five years, about twice the national rate! All Maricopa County citizens should be raising hell about this but it's not the only county in this country online! Here's an article on TVW from last May 23, 2005 about that website in Maricopa County...
05/30/06 LATIMES front page story about college websites being hacked. You may have to register to get to the article but it's free. (Note to TVW readers: What's going to happen when hackers and ID thieves realize that state agencies like COURT CLERKS, RECORDERS, etc. have put SSNs online for the world to see like these. )
05/23/06 - 2230 hrs. - CNN's Drew Griffin's report "How To Rob A Bank." If you missed it this past weekend, read the transcript of the show. It's all about identity theft. Send an email to your legislators and have them read it, too. They are the ones who want your personal (albeit public) records available via the internet which contain the very information one needs to wreak havoc on your life.
05/22/06 - 2230 hrs - A FORTUNE magazine article about Online scams create "Yahoo" millionaires in Lagos thanks to identity theft and internet cafes. (To TVW readers: Wait till they discover how easy it is to get SSNs off Clerks' websites where they are all over the place.)
05/22/06 - Court Clerks, Registers of Deeds, Recorders, and Secretaries of States are giving away SSNs which are on various records they possess/control. The 14 Virginia Court Clerks who have the records available right now via the internet think there is such a thing as a "secure" website, however, there is not. And today we find that almost 27 million veterans had their info compromised, but just how many of those veterans have SSNs on a record held and being given away by the above named state agencies - like this one easily accessible via the internet in Fairfax County or this one available in Ft. Bend County, TX Clerk's website for free? How much more stupid do we have to be in this country to continue allowing these records to be made available over the internet?
05/13/06 - Hackers steal Ohio University medical records and SSNs. BUT the Ohio Sec. of State STILL has the images online complete with SSNs!!!! Pick a last name to search for (like Blackwell) then click on "View Image" then "Doc ID" on next page.
05/12/06 NEWS CHANNEL 11's Josh Smith's story about "Personal Information in the Public Record" Wait till that person mentioned in the piece finds out her records will be available July 1, 2007 in people's homes! And Tennessee Clerks have already gone online with the records...
05/10/06 Is there ANYONE on earth who thinks any website is "SECURE"? Apparently Virginia lawmakers think so since they are allowing records with personal information in them which are held by VA Circuit Court Clerks to be accessed over the internet... Read this Washington Post article and then get on your Delegate and Senator. Make sure you forward that article to them and then tell them you're voting for their opponent next year.
05/04/06 1) RFIDs in everything and at what cost to our privacy? Read this article and the others linked at that site... 2) Also read Why "phishing" works
05/01/06 Cities, counties walk a fine line to keep public records open and personal information secret (Note to TVW readers: There HAVE been linked cases of ID theft to Clerks' records.)
04/28/06 1) ConsumerAffairs.com has report about Vermont losing laptop loaded with student data. Employee applying for free credit report runs afoul of EXPERIAN - one of the three credit reporting agencies.. 2) Defense Dept releases statement about TRICARE (military's health care system) being hacked. Tricare West was hacked into in 2004... IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WHO THINKS THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A "SECURE" SITE?
04/27/06 Here's a WSLS News story titled "Some divorced Virginians may be at risk for identity theft" (NOTE to TVW Readers: Not only the parent's info IS/WILL BE at risk but the children's, too, will be at risk when ALL VA Court Clerks go online. Plus in a Final Divorce decree, you can get all the details of the divorce...Why did VA legislators vote to allow these records to be accessed via the internet? 14 Clerks are already online but the rest will be online SOON! Here's how this started...
04/24/06 8:30 PM - A SPECIAL REPORT by CNSNEWS's Senior Staff Writer Jeff Johnson.... Online Records: Gold Mine for Thieves, Stalkers, and Terrorists Forward this article to your Court Clerk and your state legislators. The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren is mentioned in this report.
04/21/06 More of this will be going on when Identity thieves realize just how much of a treasure trove of SSNs, DOBs, mother's maiden names, financial account numbers, minor children's names, and signatures are online already in 14 localities' Clerk's offices (like Va Beach and Norfolk) or will be available soon in the other 107 localities in VA. Just sit at home on a computer and get all the SSNs one wants off a government website... It's already happened several times in OHIO when ID thieves stole SSNs off the Clerks' sites there.
04/19/06 VA LEGISLATORS AND COURT CLERKS ARE SPOON FEEDING CRIMINALS.... THIS RECORD WAS JUST GOTTEN OFF THE INTERNET WITH LOTS OF OTHERS FROM THE CARROLL COUNTY, VA WEBSITE BY THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG... LOOK AT IT CAREFULLY. IT SHOWS WHERE FOUR CHILDREN'S NAMES , DOBs, AND SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS ARE BUT WHICH THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG HAS BLACKED OUT TO PROTECT THEM - SOMETHING THE CIRCUIT COURT CLERK DID NOT DO SINCE WE HAVE THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT! ANYONE IN VA CAN SIGN UP TO GET THIS SAME RECORD FROM THEIR HOME AND THOUSANDS MORE LIKE IT FOR A MERE $25... AND GET THIS! THE PARENTS' SSNs WERE ON PAGE ONE OF THIS FINAL DIVORCE DECREE RIGHT BESIDE "MOMMY'S" NEW HOME ADDRESS AND "DADDY'S" TOO! WHY ARE VIRGINIANS SITTING BACK DOING NOTHING WHILE OUR LEGISLATORS AND CLERKS ALLOW THESE RECORDS TO BE PUT ON THE INTERNET? THEY SHOULD STAY WITHIN THE FOUR WALLS OF THE COURTHOUSE. HERE'S HOW THIS CAME ABOUT. HERE'S WHO VOTED TO PUT THESE RECORDS ONLINE .
04/18/06 What is VA Governor Tim Kaine thinking about when he gutted a bill dealing with illegals registering to vote at DMV ... yet he never bothers to amend a bill dealing with people's personal records???
04/14/06 -A USATODAY article from December, 2005 which is a must read and make sure that your state legislators get a copy of it. With having Social Security numbers available on state agencies' websites, meth addicts and ILLEGALS can get SSNs and wreak havoc on your life...But our legislators just don't "get it!" If a meth addict, ID thief, or ILLEGAL wants SSNs, they should at least have to drive to the courthouse and be seen while hunting them up. And here's a Washington Post story about how one man was a victim.
04/12/06- 10PM COMPUTERWORLD's article entitled Data exposure: Counties across the U.S. posting sensitive info online - Social Security numbers, drivers’ license data and bank account numbers are all easily available mentions The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren, who has been fighting to get (and keep) records off the internet since August, 2002 and who has promised to fulfill legislators and Clerks' wishes to put personal info online starting with THEIRS. If they are hell bent on having records online, theirs will be there first!
04/12/06 1) COMPUTERWORLD has article about SSNs and other info being available in Florida. (When will every state's legislators get smart and stop all this online records mess in which the Court Clerk or Sec. of State is spoonfeeding criminals? But Virginia legislators don't get it either... and 14 VA Court Clerks have SSNs, DOBs, mothers' maiden names, minor children's names, signatures, and financial acc't numbers available via the internet right now and more Clerks are going online!) 2) The Texas Associated Press names four part series about County records being put online with all sorts of personal information as "Investigative Report of the Year." (Make sure all your friends read this and the four articles because it's happening all over this country including Virginia...links to article are there.) and 3) This is truly an unbelievable story in the Detroit News "Irk Judge, Get time out chair"
04/07/06 HAS THE OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE, J. KENNETH BLACKWELL, WHO IS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR IN THE MAY PRIMARY FINALLY TAKEN DOWN ALL THE UCC RECORDS WITH SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS ON THEM? NO, HE HAS NOT. CLICK ON "DOC ID". (Please GO HERE if link doesn't work. It appears they are changing the link.)
04/02/06 1) Click here to see NEW records posted with SSNs on them 2) Iris Taylor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a follow up report to last week's article linked below re: Clerk's records and SSNs being available online in various types of records and what citizens think about it. and... 3) Ohio Sec. of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is running for Governor STILL has tens of thousands of SSNs on his UCC search site. Pick a last name to search, then hit submit. When the search results come up, pick a name and then click on "View Image" over to the right and then on next page click on "Doc ID" to open the image. Doesn't he realize he is STILL spoon feeding criminals? For more links to Sec. of States' sites where SSNs are all over the place due to the stupidity of elected officials, click here.
03/26/06 1) Today Iris Taylor (Richmond Times Dispatch) has follow up article to one from last Sept. and 2) An article by David Bloys of News For County Officials has article published on "Patient Privacy Rights" which is well worth reading since the same thing is happening here in VA. Guardianship papers put online already in 14 VA counties have health information in them.
03/22/06 When The Virginia Watchdog's Founder discovered that the Ohio Sec. of State was spoon feeding criminals, she called that office and asked why they were showing them to the world. Now here is an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer about another person complaining... Keep in mind that the Ohio Secretary of State is running for Governor in May primary!
03/20/06 OHIO Sec. of State who is running for Governor STILL has people's SSNs on his UCC search site. WHY? Doesn't he know he is spoon feeding criminals? Click on "View Image" and then "Doc ID" to open the image.
03/16/06 CIA Director, Porter Goss, is angry that agents' personal info is so easily available. But so is personal info on Judges, F.B.I. agents, Secret Service agents, state and local police/sheriffs, Doctors, children's home addresses and SSNs. Legislators across the U.S. have voted to allow these records to be put online. But Florida Gov. Jeb Bush protected his own SSN and his wife's by having them blacked out on documents recorded in Miami Dade County, Fl yet there are millions of SSNs still online thanks to the Florida Clerks/Recorders and the previous Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris who is now running for a U.S. Senate Seat. Those UCC records are loaded with SSNs. Search here
03/13/06 - 5:30 PM OHIO SEC. OF STATE AGREES TO REMOVE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS OFF HIS WEBSITE TO SETTLE LAWSUIT
03/08/06 - 9:16 PM Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's UCC website still online with tens of thousands of SSNs. Images can be found by clicking on "View Image" then "Doc ID." He can put up a "summary rather than showing "images" of the documents. Why won't he shut the site down? Ohio citizens should be outraged and so should the citizens in these states...
03/07/06 3 PM Clerks "putting deeds online is a horribly risky approach" says John Dozier of Dozier Internet Law in reference to Rockingham County, VA Clerk going online with records that contain SSNs, etc. (Note: the Rockingham Clerk will not just be putting "deeds" online. It will be lots of other records as well. The people there don't want him to do it but he's going to anyway...)
03/07/06 Virginia Senate Courts of Justice committee votes to approve HB 563 which calls for VA Information Technolgies Agency to come up with a way to redact SSNs from records. But SSNs are not the only thing that needs protecting. What about minor children's names, mother's maiden names, signatures, DOBs, and financial account numbers? Not one of the 15 Senators on Courts of Justice made a motion to stop all this online records mess or to protect that other information. They should have shut down the 14 sites available online right now until all that can be protected, but they apparently don't care that SSNs are available via the internet and so are waiting another year -or two - to protect the millions of SSNs in the records available via the internet right now. It is another year wasted all due to "special interests" winning this battle. NEW! Here are some more well known peoples' "PUBLIC" records and also here are links to many Secretary of States' sites where SSNs are all over the place thanks to the legislators in those states and the Secretaries of States who have not protected the SSNs and sometimes the DOBs of people...
Read The Price of Privacy by David Raths - an article about online records.
03/05/06 Sec. of State's website still online with SSNs...Why? What is he waiting for to take it down? It should have been down days ago when the Cincinnati Enquirer told the public about SSNs being on that site. Read all stories below related to this since 3/2/06.
03/04/06 Hamilton County, Ohio Clerk removes more records with SSNs off his online records site... WILL VIRGINIA PASS A BILL THIS MONDAY THAT WILL PROHIBIT CLERKS FROM SPOON FEEDING CRIMINALS? DON'T THEY "GET IT" YET? Also the Sec. of State's site with all SSNs on it is still online. Linked below...
03/03/06 10 PM OHIO Attorney General weighs in on issue of SSNs on the Sec. of State's website... and here's his press release urging Sec. of State Blackwell to protect those SSNs and to notify citizens who have SSNs on the site. Blackwell's UCC search site as of this time is still online...
03/03/06 2:10 PM USA TODAY covers Ohio records mess Sec. of State still has not shut down site. And he wants to be the next Governor of Ohio...
03/03/06-10:10 AM Secretary of State not the only one spoon feeding criminals in OHIO...The "Recorders" also have tens of thousands of SSNs online on 1990's mortgage records and older UCCs!
03/03/06-10 AM... WCPO in Cincinnati has this story about the Ohio Sec. of State issue and the lawsuit filed and now this... BREAKING NEWS in the Cincinnati Enquirer... ID thieves used county site
03/03/06 The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren gets the credit for turning Ohio on its ear about the Ohio Sec. of State's UCC search site where SSNs remain online on Secretary Blackwell's site and now a law suit has been filed... Here's also a follow up story in the Dayton Daily News When are other states that are doing the same thing (like AL, NC, NY, FL, PA, MS, NM, OR, MO, VT, etc) going to shut down their "UCC Search" sites or remove those SSNs? They're all spoon feeding criminals and putting people at risk!
03/02/06 Noon And who is the "King of Stupid" today for refusing to shut down the website with all the SSNs showing on the Uniform Commercial Code (UCCs) filings? J. Kenneth Blackwell
03/02/06 7:35 AM.... Here is an article about the Ohio mess that was in the Dayton Daily News. The Virginia Watchdog is mentioned in it...
03/02/06 1) Not only Clerks/Recorders/Registers of Deeds all over the country are putting SSNs on the internet, but so are Secretaries of State across the U.S. Here's the latest version of a Cincinnati Enquirer article about the Ohio Secretary of State who now refuses to shut down the site even though thousands of SSNs are on there and FREE for the taking to ANYONE in the world. AND WHO ALERTED THE CITIZENS IN OHIO ABOUT IT? The Virginia Watchdog did! But why didn't Mr. Blackwell's office redact out the SSNs way before now for the internet site like the Sec. of State in Kentucky has done? AND THIS... 2) Rockingham County, VA Clerk of Court still going online with records containing SSNs like 14 other Clerks in VA who have already done it? And our legislators last year gave the Clerks double immunity in case anything happens and they get sued. He thinks there will be security in a "pay per view site." Wrong! ANYONE can sign up and then let the whole neighborhood into the site or the subscriber could print out records for everyone! Wayne Harper should be voted out of office next year and so should the others!
02/27/06 Maybe if The Virginia Watchdog would give 1000s of dollars to VA Delegates/Senators, then she might get their attention. Read this article in the Augusta Free Press...
02/23/06 Virginia Sheriff's Association NOT concerned about Court Clerks' online records issue. Why not? Are they too busy taking some Senators and Delegates on hunting trips to worry about SSNs being available on a Clerk's website? And here's who is paying for the dues so the Sheriffs can belong to that group...
02/23/06 Think any computer is safe? Read this... "Invasion of the Computer Snatchers" by Brain Krebs of The Washington Post
02/22/06 When is HB 563's "substitute" going to be heard in the VA Senate Courts of Justice committee? Why the holdup? What deal is being cooked? Or are VA Senators coming to their senses about allowing Circuit Court Clerks to have remote access sites where they are exposing all those SSNs and other personal information in those records?
02/14/06 The founder of The Virginia Watchdog will be on WRVA 1140 tomorrow, Feb 15 at 6:05 AM on the JIMMY BARRETT program. Listen here via the internet...
02/14/06- 3 PM Here's an OPEN EMAIL sent to Del. Tom Rust today about his and his ex-wife's SSN on a PUBLIC RECORD.
02/13/06 Senate Courts of Justice committee delays action on (essentially killing) SB 383 to 2007. Apparently the Senators aren't concerned about SSNs held by Circuit Court Clerks being available via the internet... like these....and these.....and these...and these.
02/10/06 Science and Technology Committee chaired by VA Delegate Joe May(R) of Loudoun County kills the one bill that would have protected all the personal information in the Circuit Court Clerk's records... and here's one Delegate's PUBLIC record...
02/02/06 Like 13 other VA counties, Carroll County, VA 's records are available via "remote access" and they contain thousands and thousands of Social Security numbers, minor children's names, mother's maiden names, etc. and "ANYONE" can sign up to get to them... AND this just in from WRIC TV Richmond about H&R Block and the release of SSNs. What will Attorney General McDonell do about the hemorrhaging of personal info in the Clerk's records?
01/26/06 Do You Think Circuit Court Clerks Who Are REPEATEDLY Cited By The Auditor of Public Accounts For FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT Should Get A PAY RAISE? Well, VA Senator Chichester and Delegate Callahan Both Apparently Do...Read this and see the audit reports for yourself.
01/25/06 Two must read articles from two different newspapers... 1) South Bend Tribune's HONEYWELL employees and some Univ. of Notre Dame donors are alerted and 2) this in the Corvallis Gazette-Times Identity theft's afflictions often linger
01/24/06 THINK A CLERK'S SITE WILL BE SAFE? This 20 year old even got into military computers... READ THIS from FOX NEWS
01/23/06-1940 hrs UPDATE! Hearings on HB 563 & HB 842 POSTPONED! Stay tuned.
01/19/06 VA ready to "privatize" with Northrup Grumman and Florida already went with Convergys to handle personnel matters but state employees' SSNs and bank routing #s may have ended up in INDIA, CHINA, or BARBADOS. One man says "privatization has failed" there and now no one will take responsibility for shortcomings...
01/18/06 Four great articles: 1)Phishing Abounds at Tax Time (note from TVW: Why should anyone be concerned with this phishing scheme when VA legislators are allowing Circuit Court Clerks to spoon feed criminals SSNs and other private information in the records that are being made available over the internet? Will anything be done to stop this online records mess in this session of the VA General Assembly? 2) Data Breach at Company used by law enforcement and security 3) Another story about the Guidance hacking and one VA investigator's credit card number was among them 4) Credit reporting Agency settles FTC case This all relates to the Clerks' records issue in VA and other states...
01/17/06 Even North Carolina is ahead of protecting private information in records online. Here is their law...the only problem is people don't even know the records are online to ask to have the information blacked out. Read second paragraph. And Florida has mandated that SSNs etc. now be redacted by Court Clerks/Recorders and no one has to ask. It is law that redaction (removal of the personal info) occurs by 1/1/07 for EVERYONE. (Title X Chapter 119.071 (5) 7. g) Will VA see the light during this session?
01/16/06 ID Thief preyed upon cancer stricken man...NBC News reports AND NY Newsday has this about phone records being sold... and having these Clerks records online will definitely aide ID thiefs since ANYONE can sign up into a Clerk's site.
01/15/06-2:20 P.M. Rockingham's County's legislators don't want SSNs online in Clerk's records... (Note to readers: The article does not reference Senate bill 383 just introduced on Friday and put on the legislative info site late Friday night that is the companion bill to Del Frederick's. Also too many people do not know this online records mess is happening so Frederick's/McDougle's bills are the best to get your legislators to back. This web site will track the bills for you and let you know how they are trashed... or not trashed and whether the people's information will be protected...or not protected. If the state of Florida can pass a bill requiring the Clerks to redact out the SSNs on EVERY record, then so can VA. It is now a law in Fl that requires the Clerks to black out several things on the records there.)
01/13/06-10 P.M. Sen. Ryan McDougle introduced SB383 today which is very similar to HB842 (read 1/12/06 post) but lacks the new paragraph G in HB 842 and the section relating to COV section 17.1-279. Email your legislators to get them to back these bills if you care about your personal information being available online! SB383 has been referred to Senate Courts of Justice Committee...Send emails to the members of that committee and also follow the two House bills and email your own legislators to back the bills. (Update - SB 383 carried to next year.)
BJ Ostergren will be on WRVA tomorrow morning (Friday 1/13/06) at 6:05 A.M. on the Jimmy Barrett show discussing the Clerk's records issue and the General Assembly bills.
01/12/06 Del. Jeffrey M. Frederick (R) introduced legislation yesterday involving the Circuit Court Clerk's records that can protect ALL Virginia citizens both past and present and those records. His bill (HB842) in paragraph D 1 would require the clerks to not post documents that contain SSNs, DOBs, signatures, mother's maiden names, etc. unless they redact all those items mentioned!!! Otherwise they can not make the records available via the internet. Read Paragraph D1 and Paragraph G. Get in touch with your Delegate and Senator immediately about this bill. Tell them to support it. Any questions, email BJ Ostergren. (UPDATE: HB 842 was killed, SB 383 was carried over, and HB 563 amended to point where almost worthless. But it did push the date back for clerks to be online to July 1, 2007 )
01/12/06 Austin American-Statesman article "Exposing hidden files all in a day's work" and this is a must read in eweek.com "Symantec Caught in Norton 'Rootkit' Flap". What is the VA AG's office going to do about this?
01/11/06 House Bill involving Court Clerk's records/SSNs introduced by Virginia Del. Samuel A. Nixon, Jr. falls short
01/06/06 11:30 PM "ONLINE ACCESS STIRS DEBATE" in the Utica (NY) Observer-Dispatch by Renee Gamela and then read this follow up in which BJ Ostergren is quoted "NO EXCEPTIONS FOR ONLINE RECORDS" . Also read "PERSONAL DATA" (Utica Observer-Dispatch). AND MAKE SURE TO EMAIL YOUR LEGISLATORS THIS ARTICLE, TOO - And here's what The Virginia Watchdog had to say about the Arizona and Maricopa County situation last May and how stupid they are... She was way ahead of the pack now that they are reconsidering what they've done...)
01/04/06 Two must read articles - one old and one brand new: PRIVACY CONCERNS by Merrill Douglas.... and PRIVATE EYE by Shane Harris (This second article is about Choicepoint who gets a lot of info from the Clerks' records and other sources and then sells it. Here's a link to all the data breaches last year and Choicepoint is on the list twice. )
01/03/06 USA TODAY article about computer data breaches...
01/02/06 Here's an "open" letter to the editor of the Daily New-Record in Harrisonburg, VA about the 12/30/05 article concerning online records and SSNs linked below. (It's unknown if they have printed it yet in their paper or online).
01/02/06 North Carolina legislators apparently forgot (or didn't know) about a great source of SSNs on one of their state's websites.
12/28/05 Go to today's Washington Times and read about how meth users are turning to identity theft. Wait till the criminals find out all they have to do is get into a Court Clerk's website to get tons of SSNs! For $25 ANYONE right now can get into Fairfax County's Circuit Clerk's site and have access to 27 million records and about 10 million SSNs for one month and once one person is in they can let all their friends use their home computer. Here's an example of what you'll find in Fairfax's records thanks to VA legislators! No more driving to the courthouse - just get online! But most sites in other states are FREE/OPEN to the world - like Florida's, etc.
12/27/05 Here's a Washington Post article (a must read) about "foreign call centers".... When you're getting help from someone over the phone for your computer or something else, are they in a foreign country like India, giving you a fake name instead of their real name, trying to speak like us to fake you out, and sitting there with access to your SSN? You betcha!!! Click here to find a list of companies that Lou Dobbs of CNN says are "EXPORTING AMERICA."
12/22/05 Why has the VA General Assembly allowed these records with so much personal info to be put online? Check out these Deeds of Trust and other records with SSNs on them that are already online in other VA localities..
12/15/05 Five great articles to make sure your own state legislators read: 1) Fort Bend Herald article "County records...Damage is done says expert" 2) Another Fort Bend Herald article "Public record takes on new meaning in county" 3) Another Fort Bend Herald article "Change in records policy can curb risk" 4) When government officials aren't what they seem...(this relates to the first article) 5) Privacy for Pets? YES. Privacy for People? NO.
12/02/05 1) NC passes law about "freezing" credit reports and removing SSNs off certain internet sites...
11/30/05 Letter to the Editor printed in the 11/30/05 edition of the Mechanicsville Local about online records issue... "Perhaps She'll Run For Office..."
11/28/05 A must read...Tim Holden of the Virginian Pilot reports about VDOT and eminent domain cases and what it costs us taxpayers for "outside" lawyers. "In the past five years, law firms in Hampton Roads have billed taxpayers more than $5.1 million representing VDOT on such cases." The Virginia Watchdog asks :What is our General Assembly going to do about this? Why can't VDOT use "staff" attorneys?
11/25/05 Mechanicsville Local article about The Virginia Watchdog entitled, "Online records battle nears end...Local activist may see her three year crusade end in defeat next July" by Kelli Craig. Read what BJ Ostergren has to say about it...
11/08/05 Louisa County, VA Treasurer quits using SSN as "password" to the "confidential" PP TAX records... Click on any PP tax link. But what about "publishing" those PP records online? Where's the Commonwealth's Attorney or the Attorney General's office?
11/08/05 Say it ain't so! The Frederick County Commonwealth's Attorney, Lawrence Ambrogi, says it's okay to "publish" PP tax info like the Frederick County Treasurer is doing... but say it ain't so, Mr. Ambrogi...
11/07/05 Where is the VA Attorney General's office in this issue about the Treasurer's publishing PP TAX records which are confidential? City of Poquoson Treasurer goes back online with PP TAX records. Here's City of Poquoson's home page stating that as of 11/04/05 he now requires an account number and name to access the confidential PP TAX records that shouldn't be "published" anyway... He has quit using the SSN since he knows now that they are available by the tens of thousands in the Circuit Court Clerk's offices.
11/04/05 - 1645 hrs. As a result of this email, York County, VA Treasurer stops using SSN as entry "password" to confidential "Personal Property Tax" records...but now there is still that problem with "publishing" PP tax info to deal with...VA law (see COV 58.1-3 F) says no one can "publish" that information but yet certain Treasurer's sites say in their Disclaimer that they are "publishing" that info.
11/03/05 City of Poquoson shuts down access to it confidential Personal Property Tax records. Could this be the email that made the Treasurer see the light?
11/01/05 The Culpeper County, VA Treasurer has now also broken the links to the Confidential Personal Property Tax info he was publishing in violation of COV 58.1-3 A& F. (Click on the "Inquiry" options on his site to see that now he only has links to the real estate tax info which is "public" info...) Read related stories below...
10/30/05 Did Del Robert McDonnell really ask Judge Verbena Askew in a judicial committee hearing if she'd ever committed sodomy? Yes, he did, but when he was asked the same question, he "couldn't recall". With a memory that bad, should he be the next VA Attorney General? Or was he lying? It was rude of him and it was none of his business.
10/30/05 Read this story in the Shelbyville (Tennessee) Times-Gazette "Identity theft causes ordeal for reporter" by Sherri Green Frame (Note: I guess this reporter doesn't realize Bedford County's Register of deeds has their documents online including Federal tax liens and SSNs for a small fee...)
10/28/05 Virginia has already had one Attorney General (Jerry Kilgore) who turned a blind eye to wrong doing when endorsing candidates and other things... Do we want another like him in Robert McDonnell who is running for Attorney General and who isn't saying where his big donations are coming from that are being channeled from one group thru a PAC? Read this Washington Post editorial.
10/28/05 CHEERS TO THE WESTMORELAND TREASURER AND NOW TO THE FREDERICKSBURG TREASURER'S OFFICE FOR TAKING ACTION... When will the others follow suit?
10/28/05 Now Fredericksburg and Poquoson in addition to Culpeper Co., Giles Co., Orange Co., and Shenandoah Co. Treasurers have put confidential TAX info online and now DISCLAIM responsibility for it if it's "misused" or "accessed" by someone else who may have someone's SSN...
10/21/05 ORANGE COUNTY, VA also putting confidential Personal Property TAX records online.
10/19/05 Here's what Citizens Against Government Waste says about the "REAL ID" Act... "Chips" in D/Ls to track all of us? Privacy violations? What is Congress thinking? Or are they???
10/18/05 Frederick, Giles, Louisa, Shenandoah, and Prince William Counties are just as bad as Westmoreland, Culpeper and Fairfax...
10/16/05 In 2003 VA Attorney General Jerry KILGORE made three endorsements he should have thought about first...he endorsed a man found guilty of violating the conflict of interest laws, a man who served time in jail for failing to pay taxes, and a man who, according to court records, has a history of domestic violence...
10/13/05 QUESTION: Would IRS put our Federal 'TAX" records online and then allow them to be accessed by using a SSN like a few Virginia Treasurers/Tax Administrators are doing with Personal Property TAX records which are "confidential" under VA law?
10/11/05 The Virginia Watchdog has just discovered that the Culpeper County, VA Treasurer (Click "INQUIRY OPTIONS" and then "PP Public Inquiry") and the Fairfax County Dept of Tax Administration are doing the same thing as the Westmoreland Treasurer (read story below) - putting the citizens' Personal Property Tax records at risk by having them on the internet and only requiring a SSN to access them. In Fairfax, you also have to have the last four digits of the VIN but that's easy to get - just look thru someone's car windshield! (For Fairfax, click on link to pay personal property taxes by credit card then click "no" when asked if you have the bill, and keep going to see vehicle info by giving your SSN and last four digits of VIN). Someone in each locality should file for an injunction to stop this and also seek prosecution of the Treasurer for violating state law since the records are NOT secure. If anyone knows any other place that the Treasurer has done this, email BJ Ostergren.
10/09/05 WESTMORELAND COUNTY, VA "TREASURER" PUTS CONFIDENTIAL PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX RECORDS ON THE INTERNET...
10/05/05 1) Federal Judge orders county "imaging" software destroyed...Software that was used to put court records on the internet... 2) Is your Court clerk's imaging software pirated?
10/02/05 Letters published today in the Richmond Times Dispatch Business section in reponse to the 9/18/05 article about online records linked below .... AND ALSO read the last letter at this link from Sept. 25, 2005 letters also in the RTD...
9/26/05 Judge holds off on disclosure in credit card heist. (Very important article to read at c/net's NEWS.COM's Internet news...) Think there is anything such as a "secure" website? Think again...
9/18/05 WARREN COUNTY, VA AND KING GEORGE COUNTY, VA CIRCUIT COURT CLERKS PUT CITIZENS' RECORDS AT RISK... AGAIN.
9/18/05 Richmond Times-Dispatch article about online records by Iris Taylor
8/23/05 WASHINGTON POST reports that 33,000+ USAF officers' SSNs and other personal info stolen off website!!!
7/21/05 FOX NEWS CHANNEL does a piece on Ohio Clerk's records and identity theft called "Identity thief speeds away with $20,000." But hey, Hamilton County, what about all the rest of your records in the Recorders' office and the Ohio Secretary of State's office that have thousands of SSNs on them that are available to the world? No one seems to be pulling those SSNs off the internet!!!
7/15/05 SSNs disappearing off Florida sites - the latest one belongs to U.S. Senator C. William Nelson, II of Leon County. But every other "Joe Schmoe's" is still on the internet! Why aren't the little folks being protected? They don't even know these records are on the internet...But here it is anyway...
7/12/05 Two articles in the Naples (FL) News Daily/Bonita News about the SSNs - including the CIA Director's - being online.. Click here to read Watchdog Reveals CIA Director's SSN.. and click here to read the second article about Goss' SSN being taken off his docs... but click here to see the two docs with his SSN still on The Virginia Watchdog web site... Their SSNs are right there for the world to see on two separate records...
7/5/05 CIA Director Goss found out his and wife Mary's SSNs were on the Lee County Clerk's web site.
6/27/05 Click here to listen to a 6/23/05 live interview with The Virginia Watchdog's founder on Gerri Detweiler's Everyday Wealth Show
6/19/05 The National Association of Land Title Abstractors and Examiners (NALTEA) issues press release against online publication of deeds, mortgage papers, divorce decrees, etc!
The Privacy Rights Clearing House reports a chronology of known data breaches...now total over 50 million...
6/18/05 Breach affects 22 Million VISA cards and 14 million MASTERCARDS, but....
6/13/05 KXAN reports about Austin (Travis County), Texas social security numbers online in Clerk's records
6/10/05 After a N.J. resident found his SSN on his County Clerk's website, he took the matter to the Monmouth Superior Court Judge who ordered the web site shut down. Since this man's name and address was published in the paper that was linked here, and since his SSN is at risk, The Virginia Watchdog has decided to break the link to the article for now. The Clerk in that county is determined to put the citizens' records back on the internet. The citizens should be furious. Next court date...June 23rd. (Update...As of July, the records are back online but SSNs are being taken off of them.)
6/09/05 The legislators in Missouri have passed privacy bill to be signed by the Gov. - but it only protects certain people's privacy/records on the internet - NOT everyone's!
6/06/05 Jackson County and other counties in Missouri expose SSNs by putting people's records on the internet...
6/3/05 Access to records easier, for better or for worse by news-journal online. (Note: And this is the way it's going to be all over this country if people don't get involved and tell legislators to keep records in the courthouse. Also Florida has already put the "land" records online.)
6/01/05 The Lone Star State is spoon feeding criminals, too! Some Clerks have thrown SSNs onto the internet for the world to see (Travis County, Bexar County, Ft. Bend County and others are online with SSNs).
5/25/05 "A Matter of Public Record" in the Washington Post featuring The Virginia Watchdog and the online records mess. (Note to readers: 1) the Thomas "Tom" Delay documents are linked in the 3/7/05 article below about US Sen. Bill Nelson 2) Warren County, VA pulled their records off line in Dec. 2002 and have never gone back on with the "images" of documents...yet...)
5/23/05 ARIZONA IS JUST AS RECKLESS AS EVERY OTHER STATE THAT IS PUTTING OUR RECORDS/LIVES ON THE INTERNET...
5/19/05 NY Times article called "Personal Data for the Taking" about Johns Hopkins students' project to find information about people in public records includes comments from The Virginia Watchdog (You may have to register for free to get to article.)
3/31/05 Virginia legislators give Circuit Court Clerks double IMMUNITY when they make our personal records available online!
3/18/05 Here's a link to an "internetnews.com" article about SSNs being so readily available by Susan Kuchinskas which mentions The Virginia Watchdog!
3/16/05 The Virginia Watchdog does a "live" interview on WRVA's Jimmy Barrett Show this morning...go here to vote in the "Question of the day" concerning Court Clerks' records going online (Results for Question of the Day: 85% of the people who voted did not want any of these kinds of personal records online!)
3/15/05 Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore... do you now understand that the Circuit Court Clerks will NOT be removing the SSNs or other personal information off any documents when they put these records online? That SSNs will still be available to ANYONE?
3/10/05 Who pushed this online records scheme in VA??? How did we get to this point with these records?
3/9/05 Here we go again! DSW SHOE WAREHOUSE and LEXISNEXIS - Intruders got personal info!!! This is on top of ChoicePoint, TriCare West, George Mason University, etc. fiascoes...
3/7/05 “If this is not an eye-opening threat to our privacy, then nothing is.” - U.S. Senator C. William Nelson, II of Florida - Guess the Senator doesn't know his own SSN is online in Florida...
3/4/05 Smart Money.com just released an important article by Aleksandra Todorova concerning "Public Records" online! An in depth look at online personal information featuring The Virginia Watchdog...
2/23/05 Texans are finding out about "online records" - The Virginia Watchdog was on KLIF radio in Dallas/Ft. Worth Texas "live" today.
CBS Evening News on 2/18/05 featured The Virginia Watchdog - "Private info for all world to see" (Video)
The Virginian-Pilot's front page story about The Virginia Watchdog on 2/19/05 - "She knows all about you and you and you" (Update 6/31/06): the Virginian-Pilot removed the "link" to this old story sometime earlier this year. It was a good article but no longer online.)
1/10/05 Virginia Legislators want Sec. of State Colin Powell's SS# online... so here it is!
Florida has millions of records online already with SSNs and other personal info - See Gov. Jeb Bush's SSN right here
Hey, Governor JEB BUSH- Is privacy a concern to you only when it involves yours but no one else's?
The Virginia Watchdog gets a mention in both these newspapers:
The Greenville (S.C.) News - "Net can steal your privacy"
The Christian Science Monitor - "Privacy lost with the touch of a key stroke?"
12/26/04 Ohio Clerk Removes SSNs Off His Online Website Because "Bad Guys" Used his Site to Steal Identities.
When will our legislators and the Clerks see the light? This cartoon says it all...
12/14/04 BJ Ostergren threatened by State Senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis.
8/29/04a THE ISSUE: Should the Virginia Legislature allow our personal records to be accessed over the internet?
8/29/04b General Assembly slowly Selling us down the River..our records will be online by July 1, 2006
8/29/04c Committee Studying the Online Records Issue to hold meeting 9/07/04.
1/14/04a Virginia Registered Voter list being sold....But no one is stopping it.
1/14/04b EXPORTING OF AMERICA with Lou Dobbs
1/14/04c Forget your bank balance? It's available on the Internet...
1/14/04d Mixnet wants to host the King George County records - meaning put them "online."
10/28/03 - RE: Hanover County's (VA) 2003 Supervisors Races
THIS IS THE LETTER THE MECHANICSVILLE LOCAL WOULD NOT PRINT...
10/27/03 - BIG WHEELS ENDORSE EX-CON!
10/23/03 - VA Attorney General Jerry KILGORE makes three Hanover County, VA Board of Supervisors endorsements he should have thought about first...he endorsed a man found guilty of violating the conflict of interest laws, a man who served time in jail for failing to pay taxes, and a man who, according to court records, has a history of domestic violence...
An open letter to Supervisor Elton Wade (R) of Cold Harbor District....
10/14/03 - For Hanover County, VA Citizens... QUESTION: How many people have to pay taxes just to pay Board member Elton Wade's "Traffic Guard" salary of $21,652???
9/3/03 Here's the latest Leesburg Today article about the online records mess in Loudoun
Read the letter The Virginia Watchdog sent into Arlington County/Falls Church telling them their records/lives are on line
8/16/03 Links to all the Leesburg Today newspaper articles.
7/31/03 Hey, Loudoun County, VA residents... Do you want your personal information put at risk for the benefit of 35 people???
7/30/03 THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THE ONLINE RECORDS ISSUE AND THE 'LINKS' TO PROVE IT!!!!
7/24/03 Here is the letter sent out by The Virginia Watchdog to Loudoun residents.
Here is the The Virginia Watchdog's letter to Clerk Clemens that he has not answered...Why?
7/21/03Loudoun County Supervisors Pass Resolution
7/15/03Leesburg Today article...Isn’t That Private? Concerns Mount As Court Records Go Online
Will the Clerk still put these records on the Internet despite mounting opposition? (2004 UPDATE..The Clerk in Loudoun County, VA was off line with the records but made them available again after the furor calmed down...)
4/14/03 DGIF's Director claims no knowledge of us being sold out by them and VIPNet...Director of DGIF should resign... and VIPNet's managerial arm (Virginia Interactive, Inc.) TERMINATED by State Corporation Commission!
Here is the 13 Page Contract between VIPNet and DGIF showing how much they're getting for selling YOUR personal information... because DGIF says it's "public record"
Letter to Editor: Mr. Governor, I formally opt out!
3/31/03"Anyone" will be able to invade your life...WHEN OUR PERSONAL RECORDS GO ONLINE…
JUVENILE'S NAME ON "COURT" RECORDS WEBSITE!!!!
My letter to Northern Virginia Journal which ended up being an op-ed piece on 3/26/3...
2/24/03 Here's how House Bill 2426 got "gutted" and made totally worthless...
2/15/03 Click Here to listen to Senator Jay O'Brien compliment BJ Ostergren's presentation to the Senate General Laws sub-committee on 2/11/3.
2/15/03 Special Interests Prevail - Senate Committees Gut Privacy Bill Click on HB 2426 above to see amendments that gut it and how it traveled through the House and Senate Committees.
Read the following six articles about identity theft and stolen SS#s.
Seven stole more than $1.7 million using inmate IDs
17 Tampa International Airport Staff Charged With ID Fraud
Male suspect posts bond on charges of stealing woman's ID
Stolen identity puts man in jail
Jordanian-American in Chesapeake, VA fitted with electronic monitor
Identity Theft: 2003's growth crime wreaks havoc on victims
2/3/03 11:45 AM -Here's what the Fredericksburg Freelance Star has to say about HB 2426...
2/3/03VA Delegates who voted against "original" HB2426 Bill...
In the Early Hours of Tuesday - A Victory...
1/27/03Committees Meeting Tomorrow! Send Emails TODAY to Protect your Privacy
1/17/03 Listen to the Larry Bates Information Radio Network (1hr) interview at:"Your Most Private Details Exposed" with Guest B.J. Ostergren
1/16/03 BANKS ARE AIDING AND ABETTING ILLEGALS
1/14/03 PERSONAL INFORMATION IS BEING SOLD BY GAME AND INLAND FISHERIES TO "ANYONE" WHO WANTS TO BUY IT! INFO ABOUT YOUR BOAT AND WHERE YOU KEEP IT AND HOW MUCH YOU PAID FOR IT, ETC. .... AND OUR HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSE INFO TOO!!! WHY SHOULD THEY BE SELLING OUR PERSONAL INFO?
1/10/03 ATTORNEY GENERAL KILGORE "MAPS OUT 2003 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA" BUT IT DOESN'T DEAL WITH ALL THE SS#S OR CHILDREN'S NAMES ON THE INTERNET…
1/9/03 Chesterfield, VA's Delegate Sam Nixon, Jr. takes first step to protect our identities and personal information on internet...
1/7/03 Virginia Counties' Plans to Put Citizens' Personal Records Online Run into a Whirlwind of Opposition - Stirred up by One Woman
1/7/03 PLANTS AND CAVES HAVE MORE PROTECTION THAN HUMANS…
1/7/03 BJ's Back! And with the most important issue that involves our lives...Privacy. Virginia Clerks of Circuit Courts have put/are putting peoples' personal information on the internet...
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