Access to State Public Records Questioned

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, March 22, 2007

Democratic Assemblyman Dave Jones says he was surprised to learn that documents available for sale on the internet through the Secretary of State’s office often contain social security numbers. 

  “From what we know these records have been available for sale since 2004 on the worldwide web making this potentially the longest running government breach in California’s history…”

The documents in question are filed with the state by banks and lenders.  The so-called UCC filings are the record of collateral put up to secure loans.  There are about two-million of the filings and approximately one-third contains social security numbers. 

Secretary of State Debra Bowen has shut down online access to the documents and is removing all but the last four digits of social security numbers.

Dave Jones has a bill that would prohibit the Secretary of State from releasing any public records that contain social security numbers.  It would also prohibit local governments from releasing records that display more than the last four digits.