Net forces scrutiny of open records

Friday, 18 October 2002, 1:58 PM EST

A general manager at the city's hockey arena, Moehring has used the Hamilton County court's Web site to check out potential hires. He's even turned away a few because of what he found.

But someone used the site to pull Moehring's Social Security number and other details from a 1996 traffic ticket, opening seven credit cards in his name and charging $11,000.

"It was absolutely terrifying," Moehring said. "I got smoked in a bad way. The information is way too accessible."

That information is no different from what is found in public documents filed away, largely gathering dust, in courthouses around the country.

Before the Internet, though, public records were essentially private because of their obscurity. Now governments are examining what information should be made public, or whether different rules should apply to electronic documents.

[ Read more ]




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