Cincinnatti Kills privacy with online court records
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Thread: Cincinnatti Kills privacy with online court records

  1. #1
    Old Fart
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    Cincinnatti Kills privacy with online court records

    Hamilton County Ohio has evidently crossed the line of privacy invasion by putting all their court records online for all to see. While on the surface this might seem to be a decent implementation of technology, the ramifications can prove to be frightening. While it's nice to be able to input your zip codeand find all the sex offenders who live nearby, it sucks when someone pulls up a speeding ticket you got and steals your identity to run up an $11,000 dollar credit card bill. The fire department can pull up your home's floorplan and knows right where to go in an emergency, but all the burgulars and stalkers can see it too. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture? Take a look here and see for yourselves.

    NOTE: the link goes to the NY Times and may require you to log in, but membership is free.
    Al
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Yeah I agree, they should definitely limit who has access to what information in some of these cases. Like for the fire department, only they should have access to your house plans, not anyone surfing the net. And maybe for the court records, have it limited to name and crime at most, any more and you should have to go through an authority to prove you actually have a reason.
    Reality is the one who has it wrong, not you

  3. #3
    Hah, What made them do that?...

    As you said, Anyone can get the floorplans to your house and get in there Mission Impossible style....

    Nice post allen, Do you know if any other cities/counties are doing this or planning on doing it?

  4. #4
    er0k
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    i kinda wonder why some cities are all about public records myself. i got a ticket for "driving in a manner not reasonable or proper" as some of you know, a while back. It was wavered because the cop in question was a moron and didnt know the law apparently. (since i wasnt speeding) nevertheless, it was in the paper, twice. the first time when i got it, then the second time after the results. everyone in town got the chance to look at that. well thats private stuff, we dont put people up in stalks anymore and make them sit there for ppl to laugh at them. i guess public records are the new way of doing this.

  5. #5
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    they are not necessarily new...
    as some may know, i work for a small rag in ne oh. every week we publish the court dockets for four cities, name, address, what they paid in fine and for what. many papers around the area also do this, so i know we arent the only one. heck, i've even gotten my name in there once or twice...
    another thing they have started to do around us is a property search, which allows anyone with internet access to obtain even more public records, and search for your house by parcel ID, owner or address and get some prime information including tax info, floor plan, any improvements made, even photos of the front and back of the house. (i think that's the creepiest: to see my house on the web and not know who and when the picture was taken).
    just like water off a duck\'s back... I AM HERE.

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  6. #6
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    Wow, I thought information was out in the open, but Damn! What you guys are telling makes me want to do some research for my region to see what is legal in regards to public information. I know that in my State you can ask for information attached to any license plate at the Motor Vehicle Association. However, you have to go there and fill out a form to have this information blocked, scary. Allowing practically anyone to get to court records online is, in my opinion, crossing the line a bit. I agree with you guys, access to these types of sensitive information should definitely be regulated/restricted in some manner, even if it's just a simple online request process where you have to include your reason and each request has to be approved or something. But then, I guess, maybe there would be a question of having the resources (people) to handle such requests since the number of requests could be quite large depending on the region or state.
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  7. #7
    AntiOnline Senior Member souleman's Avatar
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    Legal records are public information. You just need to know where to go. You can find out anything about my convicton and parole if you know where to look. You want floorplans for a house/building/whatever...go to the county office and give them the address....
    This just makes it easier to find it.
    \"Ignorance is bliss....
    but only for your enemy\"
    -- souleman

  8. #8
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    You know, I'm not surprised now that I think about it. I once looked up information on my father-in-law's new house including the price paid, names of the owners, who sold the house, the interest rate, and the type of mortgage (15/30yr) to name a few, for my wife. Just think, there are many people that package programs that do the searching for you, or sell you a book that has tons of links and explanations on how to find whatever information you are looking for. They have got to be raking in some serious money.
    Opinions are like holes - everybody\'s got\'em.

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  9. #9
    Old Fart
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    I agree that this information has been public for years, but consider this. Using the example of a burglar...what are the odds that he would brazenly enter a courthouse or other county office in order to 'case' his next job? If he comes in too often someone could well make the connection between the burglaries and the person who has requested the records of each victim only a few days prior to the burglary. The same could apply to a stalker scenario...there are some public servants who do pay attention and are on the ball after all. Now this can be done with total anonimity, no fear of being identified. Remember, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
    Al
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  10. #10
    Senior Member problemchild's Avatar
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    Sorry to come into this thread a little late, but somehow this thread has escaped my notice for the last few days.

    I have to say I'm with souleman. These are public records available for inspection by anybody with the time and inclination to look. I understand your concern about the bad guys having easy access, but I think there's an equally good argument for the good guys having this kind of quick and easy access, too.

    As some people here may know, I'm actually a lawyer and computers are just my hobby, and a good portion of my work involves real estate title searches. Speaking as someone who has spent endless (and I mean freaking ENDLESS) hours in the court house vault looking at deeds and probated estates as part of my job, I can tell you that this is a godsend for me. My county has been recording all public records electronically since February of this year, and the conversion of old records will take several years more.

    What this means to you is that the next time interest rates drop and you want to refinance your mortgage, you don't have to pay a guy like me $175 an hour to spend an afternoon in the court house basement. I can just pull up the records electronically and cross reference the names on the deeds with the judgement rolls and tax lein books from my office PC. Then I can spend my time more productively, and you can get on with your business at the bank a whole lot cheaper.
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