THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG
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Here's the ISSUE that we have lost...for now showing records that are or already available online in VA. Make sure you tell your friends about this website. No one else is trying to watch out for them.
Here's who voted in VA to allow internet access to these records in the first place and here's how in 2003 a perfectly good Virginia House bill got gutted/trashed/made totally worthless. But other states' legislators have done the same thing because they don't understand that the easy availability of SSNs, DOBs, minor children's names, financial account numbers, and mothers' maiden names, and signatures all can be used by identity thieves, ILLEGALS, burglars, pedophiles, scam artists, etc. The key to one's life is his SSN and they are in "public" records that are being put on the internet by various state agencies like Clerks of Circuit Courts, Recorders/Register of Deeds, and Secretaries of States. And FBI/CIA/Secret Service agents, police, deputies, judges, doctors, nurses, teachers, single women who have already been victims, children, celebrities, and YOU will be put at risk because our legislators don't "get it".
Your credit can be screwed up. IF someone else committed a crime - murder- possibly using your identity, then you can be arrested and have to hire an attorney to prove you aren't "the one!" It has been documented that there have been cases of identity theft linked to those records and there will be more everyday. There will be also be other crimes committed using those records that the state is throwing on the internet and the Clerks have immunity if you are a victim. In VA, our legislators gave the Clerks what amounts to "double immunity" in the 2005 session of the General Assembly. Here's an interesting article in The Washington Post about how one man's life was screwed up.
In the 2006 session of the General Assembly, Virginia's citizens (past and present) have lost the latest battle to keep personal - albeit public - records off the internet. Virginia legislators continued to kowtow to "special interests" and so the little guys have lost. Almost every legislator (and Court Clerk) in office should be voted out of office in 2007 Virginia elections because of what they've pushed for. Don't be fooled by any one of them. They don't give a damn or else they would have been standing beside the founder of The Virginia Watchdog fighting to keep these records IN the courthouses and OFF the internet, but NOT one of them was there except Delegate Jeff Frederick of Prince William County who put in HB 842 which was killed, but he fought hard for it during its committee hearing.
SB 383 was passed by indefinitely at the request of the patron, Senator Ryan McDougle of Hanover County (in other words "killed"), and HB 563 put in by Delegate Sam Nixon created another "study" - this one by Virginia Information Technology Agencies (VITA). HB 563's original version was amended beyond recognition. The study will be to see how to remove SSNs off older records but it doesn't protect DOBs, minor children's names, mother's maiden names, financial account numbers, or SIGNATURES which can and will be stolen right off the images of the records online. And it won't protect personal information found in guardianship papers, name change documents/final divorce decrees, mortgage papers, etc.
What can you do? Write or call your State Delegate , Senator , Governor and Attorney General and tell them that this information should stay in the courthouses in VA and that it should NOT be available over the internet. Then call your Clerk of Circuit Court and tell them they WILL be voted out of office for making this information available via the internet in people's homes. Elections are in 2007 (they're elected for an EIGHT year term) and someone has to run against these people who apparently don't care about your or your children's personal information/records that are recorded in your Circuit Court Clerk's records room and the personal details within. Fourteen Clerks are already online and others are going online soon according to this survey (See pages 4-7). Can this runaway train be stopped? Yes it can, but it will take everyone in this state telling their friends about this and getting involved and writing letters and putting pressure on these legislators who do more for the "special interests" rather than for the voters. Start an email list and help us get this stopped. January 2007 will be here soon... And if anyone one of you knows any person who has a Social Security number available online right now in any of the 14 or so VA counties currently offering online access, get them to file an injunction to have the website shut down. It's been done in NJ...
So... since VA LEGISLATORS - and other states' lawmakers, too - want records on the internet, then they shall have them so here are some well known people's "public" records including their own (and some of their friends') which contain SSNs and signatures. Yes, these records are PUBLIC and are available to ANYONE but should they be available in people's homes with all the information they contain.
Wonder how they like it? And more records will be posted here!
Virginia law does not require that the VA Clerks have internet/remote access. The law says they "MAY" have it, so why are circuit court clerks hell bent on doing it? Because they want the Technology Trust Fund money referred to in COV 17.1-279.
(c) 2003 Ostergren, P.C. (Page Format Only)