Government Technology

Texas AG Opinion Causes County Clerks to Shut Down Records Access


February 27, 2007 By

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott rendered an opinion last week that government bodies are prohibited from disclosing Social Security Numbers in government records, and that disclosing such information is a criminal offense under the Public Information Act.

The opinion has created a furor among county clerks. A notice on the Travis County Clerk's site says: "We are currently evaluating a recently released Attorney Generals Opinion. One possible result is that images of documents will have to be removed from Internet access unless the Attorney General takes more positive action on this issue. This could occur as soon as February 26, 2007. We regret any inconvenience this may cause."

The Williamson County Clerk Web site has a similar notice: "You should expect long lines in the clerk's office as every document must be thoroughly reviewed by staff prior to making a copy for the requestor. Thank you for your patience during this necessary transition.

According to an article in today's Austin American-Statesman panicked clerks have closed public records access computer terminals and one office blocked records with crime-scene tape.


| More

Comments

Anonymous    |    Commented March 23, 2007

The CIRA mailing list included a message indicating this to be a humorous article. The entire SSN-as-ID debacle is far from being funny. AFAIK the SSN cards themselves used to bear a statement to the effect that federal law prohibited their use for purposes of ID. Now it's become a requirement. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Anonymous    |    Commented March 23, 2007

The CIRA mailing list included a message indicating this to be a humorous article. The entire SSN-as-ID debacle is far from being funny. AFAIK the SSN cards themselves used to bear a statement to the effect that federal law prohibited their use for purposes of ID. Now it's become a requirement. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Anonymous    |    Commented March 23, 2007

The CIRA mailing list included a message indicating this to be a humorous article. The entire SSN-as-ID debacle is far from being funny. AFAIK the SSN cards themselves used to bear a statement to the effect that federal law prohibited their use for purposes of ID. Now it's become a requirement. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Anonymous    |    Commented March 26, 2007

Someone in the IT world said "You already have zero privacy. Get over it." The reason that exposing the SSN to the world is a privacy issue is that it is used as an identifier in so many places already. Finally, you have to admit that the image of a public access terminal being blocked away from public access by crime scene tape is a little humorous. Well, it is humorous whether you admit it or not.

Anonymous    |    Commented March 26, 2007

Someone in the IT world said "You already have zero privacy. Get over it." The reason that exposing the SSN to the world is a privacy issue is that it is used as an identifier in so many places already. Finally, you have to admit that the image of a public access terminal being blocked away from public access by crime scene tape is a little humorous. Well, it is humorous whether you admit it or not.

Anonymous    |    Commented March 26, 2007

Someone in the IT world said "You already have zero privacy. Get over it." The reason that exposing the SSN to the world is a privacy issue is that it is used as an identifier in so many places already. Finally, you have to admit that the image of a public access terminal being blocked away from public access by crime scene tape is a little humorous. Well, it is humorous whether you admit it or not.


Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Fresh Ideas In Online Security for Public Safety Organizations
Lesley Carhart, Senior Information Security Specialist at Motorola Solutions, knows that online and computer security are more challenging than ever. Personal smartphones, removable devices like USB storage drives, and social media have a significant impact on security. In “Fresh Ideas in Online Security for Public Safely Organizations,” Lesley provides recommendations to improve your online security against threats from social networks, removable devices, weak passwords and digital photos.
Meeting Constituents Where They Are With Dynamic, Real-Time Mobile Engagement
Leveraging the proven and open Kofax Mobile Capture Platform, organizations can rapidly integrate powerful mobile engagement solutions across the spectrum of mobile image capture, mobile data capture and complete mobile process integration. Kofax differentiates itself by extending capture to mobility, supporting multiple points of constituent engagement. Kofax solutions dynamically orchestrate the user’s mobile experience from a single platform—reducing time to market, improving process perf
Public Safety 2019
Motorola conducted an industry survey on the latest trends in public safety communications. The results provide an outlook of what technology is in store for your agency in the next five years. Download the results to gain this valuable insight.
View All

Featured Papers