Category Archives: News

Oklahoma Supreme Court Surprisingly Restricts Online Access to Court Records

On March 11, 2008, the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued an order to restrict internet access to court records throughout the state courts. Effective June 10, 2008, only court dockets will be available to view online in Oklahoma. Any other documents, such as pleadings, will no longer be available to be viewed online.

In addition to completely restricting online access to court records, the order also included a mandate to redact any personal identifiers for court records, such as social security numbers birth dates. The first line of the order explains that the order was issued “in an effort to balance … Read More

Electronic Access to Florida Court Records and Adoption Records

Florida Statute Chapter 119 mandates that “all state, county, and municipal records” be made available for viewing and copying by the public. 119.01(e) adds that agencies should make an effort to efficiently provide remote electronic access to the information. As such, there are a variety of state operated websites which provide access to many records.  However, if you are looking specifically for court records, one of the best resources is the Florida Supreme Court’s website.  The site has a link to a page called Public Information where you can access court records including court docket information, court orders, and even Read More

Connecticut Launches New Criminal Conviction Search

Connecticut has recently launched a new criminal records search that allows online access to criminal convictions. More than 1 million criminal convictions are now online, including all felony and misdemeanor convictions since January 1, 2000. Misdemeanor convictions will be removed from this database after five years.  View this and other Connecticut online resources at our Statewide Resources page.… Read More

Texas DPS implements criminal record expunction procedures

  The Texas Department of Public Safety provides criminal conviction data files to businesses who resell access to the data.  In many cases, the businesses purchase similar data from a large number of states in order to provide search capability that covers as many jurisdictions as possible.  The benefits to the end user are dramatic.

One challenge facing the criminal records industry is in it’s ability to deal with records that have been expunged or sealed since the data was obtained by the reseller.  Most of the big players update the data as often as the record holders will allow and … Read More

Protect Your Online Personal Information

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A common question that is often asked is how to reduce or restrict online access to personal information. As noted by the Pew Research Center, “4% of all online adults say they have had bad experiences because embarrassing or inaccurate information was posted about them online.”

In addition, The Free Public Directory Blog notes that a 2005 survey found “one out of four employers has rejected applicants based on research via search engines.”

The Pew Research Center has recently published a report entitled “Digital Footprints” with this warning:

The digitization of public records and the increasing accuracy of search

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The Facebook Bonanza of Public Information

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The Free Public Records Directory Blog notes that the popular social networking site Facebook has recently expanded public access to information about Facebook members, making the site an even greater bonanza for finding personal information on millions of people.

Social networking sites are increasingly well-known sources of information for attorneys, private investigators, law enforcement and employers. Ultimately, an individual is responsible for managing their personal information online and this article highlights the ways that control can be lost by participation on social networking sites.… Read More

Teacher Misconduct Records Go Online

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The Free Public Records Directory Blog reports on several online databases of teacher misconduct records, including a new nationwide database.

These databases do not contain complete information about why a teacher has a discipline record, but there are ways to find more information. Even though online teacher misconduct records may not have details about why a teacher has a discipline record, other public records can be searched to find more information.

CourtReference.com and The Free Public Records Directory are sites that can help find online court records, law enforcement records and court contact information in every state.… Read More

Identity Theft and Online Court Records

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Online access to court records have created significant risks of identity theft due to the publication of personal information such as social security numbers, dates of birth and financial information. The volume of personal information that currently exists online and the potential costs to remove personal data are astronomical. Currently, some states are working to remove personal data from online records, but it is ultimately up to the individual to take steps to protect their personal information.

More information is available at the Free Public Records Directory blog.… Read More

Online Help for FOIA and Government Records

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In a March 13, 2007 article entitled “Getting Your Government Files,” US News and World Report describes several resources for access to government records via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA):

For general requests:

“an easy-to-use FOI letter generator.”

For an individual’s files:

“relevant forms from the Freedom of Information Center.”

For open meetings and other open records:

“The Reporters Committee has a handy guide.”

Another resource related to FOIA is Governmentdocs.org, an online service that offers “an unprecedented level of access to government documents by allowing users to browse, search, … Read More

Access to Adoption Records: The Debate Continues

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on November 11, 2007:

It’s among the most divisive questions in the realm of adoption: Should adult adoptees have access to their birth records, and thus be able to learn the identity of their birth parents?

… Kansas and Alaska never barred adoptees from seeing their birth certificates. Since 1996, six other states — Alabama, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Tennessee — have decided to allow access to all adult adoptees.

From the Chicago Tribune on November 12, 2007:

Adoptees are the only Americans, who, as a class, are not permitted to obtain their original

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