Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ohio Site Is Identity Theft Source

Site makes identity theft possible, lawsuit says. According to this Dayton Daily News story, all state records are public records and posting social security numbers from official state documents is required by law, according to Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. Thus, the lawsuit filed by Darrel Estep claims that the practice exposes he and thousands of Ohio residents to identity theft by making their sensitive financial records openly available online for the taking by potential identity thieves.

It's incredible that this practice still stumbles along in states that apparently haven't been subject to similar lawsuits and been forced to remove at least the social security numbers from those documents they feel they must post publicly.

This practice stems from old think. "If we made all records available previously from our office file cabinets in obscure state records file rooms where potential identity thieves had to physically live nearby, drive down here, come in, sign in, pay to copy those records and sign out - then it follows that we must now post those same records online, where anybody can visit anonymously and instantly via computer from across the world, search instantly for lists of data it would otherwise have taken hours to find and record, copy sensitive files free, steal social security numbers anonymously and leave instantly without leaving a trace." Does that sound like something crooks would love?

It's stunning that government can be so consumingly obtuse about the consequences of "doing it like we always have" when that puts citizens at serious, almost certain risk of financial crimes.

Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro is opposing Blackwell in the upcoming Ohio GOP nomination for governor. If nothing else, Petro deserves to win that race simply because he is capable of comprehending the danger of posting public records online - while Blackwell blindly stumbles on, claiming that the state is, "not permitted to alter a document filed ... and it becomes public record." Stunningly bureaucratic old think.

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posted by RealitySEO at 7:15 AM


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