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02/04/07 THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG STRIKES AGAIN - THIS TIME IN NEW YORK.
The Virginia Watchdog's BJ Ostergren has claimed another success - this one in New York state. She has gotten the plug pulled on the New York Sec. of State's UCC search site which has been online for way over four plus years. That's how long she has personally been into the site, but has been unable to get the site shut down until now. Phone calls to key people in the upper eschelon of the NY FARM BUREAU and some others who are just everyday ordinary citizens got results - finally!
Two weeks ago she was successful in getting the Vermont Secretary of State' UCC search site shut down by making some really good contacts to people who had SSNs on their financing statements called UCCs. Within two days of her phone calls, the outrage began and the VT Sec. of State had the good sense to pull the plug and protect the citizens of the Green Mountain State.
The images of the UCC records commonly showed the SSNs on 2001-2004 documents but the people who were the purchasers or borrowers didn't even know their SSNs were online. People who bought tractors and other farm equipment financed the purchase through John Deere or Kubota were put at risk while those filings were on display. People who bought SnapOn tools also had their SSNs online but didn't even know it. Even a lawyer contacted by Ostergren had his SSN online for "shares" in his law firm. And even "THE DONALD's" was online, but calls to his office led to no action because the switchboard operator refused to let the call through so Trump could do something!
Even Kelly Ripa's was online along with her actor husband, Mark Consuelos', and with the help of Ostergren, her document's image was removed last summer after it was mentioned in a CNN piece that her address was online. CNN so nicely obliged when Ostergren asked them not to mention that their SSNs were online. It was bad enough that their home address was showing which put her family at risk of stalking. Ostergren spoke to her agent's office and accountant's office and then they got the link to the image of the record broken. But everyone else's remained online.
Before Vermont and New York, there was Oregon and PA Secretaries of State who took down the images of the records. Ostergren also caused the class action lawsuit in Ohio in March of 2006 against the Sec. of state there which resulted in many SSNs being removed, but not all. The Ohio Sec. of State still has online several thousand SSNs which Ostergren is actively trying to get removed by calling people and telling them their SSNs are still on that site even though a Federal Judge ordered them removed in March!
And Ostergren caused Missouri to start removing the SSNs last year. The Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan, had removed her own SSN on a record which also showed her mother's and another family member's SSNs but left everyone else's on her website!
When CNN came to film a piece which was shown last June 13-18th, Ostergren showed the correspondent, Drew Griffin, Robin Carnahan's own document with the SSNs being blacked out on the website while everyone other one pulled up had the SSNs visible to everyone in the world with a computer. Ostergren only printed Carnahan's document to show how stupid and reckless it was to have the records online but if Robin Carnahan was hell bent on having everyone else's on the World Wide Web, then hers should be there also and it will stay on The Virginia Watchdog's website until Ostergren is satisfied that everyone else's is removed!
Mississippi's UCC records were online, too, but they, too, were shut down last July after Ostergren raised the issue there which set the alarm bells off. Two days before a story appeared in the Clarion Ledger's July 16, 2006 issue, the Sec. of State's UCC search site was shut down; however, the Mississippi Sec. of State went back online with the images of the UCCs and now they sell access to the records for $250 for a year. That is a VERY cheap price to pay for over a million SSNs which are on that site. Since the records are PUBLIC records, ANYONE can sign up contrary to the line of crap that is on that site about having to have a legitimate purpose to get into the UCC records. Not true! Open records laws mean just that. They are OPEN to everyone.
But despite Ostergren's successes in getting SSNs protected in other states, she has had little success in convincing Virginia's legislators how dangerous online records are. They continue to head down a ridiculous, reckless path and are forcing Court Clerks to go online with final divorce decrees, deeds, mortgages, judgments, tax liens, powers of attorney, Wills, etc. which are all loaded with SSNs, minor children's names, DOBs, mother's maiden names, financial account numbers, and SIGNATURES! ALL Circuit Court Clerks have to be online by July 1, 2008 (59 offer remote access now), but they will give them until July 1, 2010 to get the SSNs off the online record. Nothing else though.
And how do you spell "legislator?" S-T-U-P-I-D.
Click here to see records of VA legislators which contain SSNs. Since they are hell bent on having everyone's records online with personal info in them, theirs will be printed on TheVirginiaWatchdog's web site...
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