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Removing Personal Information From Public Records

January 30th, 2008 · 19 Comments · federal, FOIA, states

We here at the Free Public Records Directory are sometimes contacted about removing personal information from public records. It seems a good idea to cover this idea on a broader basis. Neither our site, nor any other directory of public links, has the ability to remove information from public record files. Public records are generated in numerous ways – from buying a house, registering to vote, having a phone listing, to filing business records. These records are generated and then stored in a number of places – county auditor offices, recorders offices, secretary of state files, directories and many other places, including, of course, on the internet. A number of states and agencies are working to limit access to, or remove altogether, personal information, such as social security numbers, from these records. The records themselves, however, are public. Documents such as deeds, liens, and court files have always been public; it is the advent of the internet that has generated the ability to search these records from anywhere that has made people so concerned. What used to involve a trip to the courthouse or to a county office now often requires just a few minutes at the computer.

As with most things, there are positives and negatives about having all this information so readily available. People worry about their privacy when records are readily accessible. However, the ability to check on others whom you may want to hire as a contractor, retain as a lawyer or perhaps have a relationship with is of vital importance. Then there is also the ability to see what houses are selling for in your area or in an area you are interested in moving to – seeing the records for oneself helps provide key information and removes some of the dependency on relying on others, such as mortgage brokers, to make important decisions. For documents to not be made public requires legislative authority. No one company can make the decision to remove records from public view and any company that tells you otherwise is wrong. ï

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19 Comments so far ↓

  • DONNA CANCASSI

    PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARE PUT AT RISK BY HAVING THEIR INFORMATION MADE PUBLICALLY ACCESSABLE. WHAT HAS THE GOVERNMENT LAW DONE TO PROTECT THEM FROM BEING FOUND AND PUT AT RISK OF HARM?

  • Nathan

    Donna – Many states have “address confidentiality” programs that abuse victims can use to help keep their contact information out of state and private databases. The programs provide victims, who have moved to a new location, a government managed mailing address and forwards mail to the victim participants. The program addresses can be used for all government purposes including driver licensing, voter registration, vehicle licensing, and process service.

    It’s important to be signed up with the program before a relocation because propagation of a new address can be very rapid and unpredictable.

    For our part, we’ll work on adding links to these programs on our directory pages.

  • Crystal

    I am from NC, I do not feel confortable with my name and address listed on a computer for people to access anytime they wish. What do I have to do to make sure my information is permanently removed?

  • private

    It sickens me. It prevents me from everything. This must be kept private. There are numerous negative affects on my life and people around me because of this public information. I could say so much. I feel like I can’t pursue anything or give any information about myself for fear people will go online and read more information. People get more curious the more private I am, and then I just break down when they find that information out. Why, why, why?! Can’t this be made completely private?

    People I did not want to know where I lived figured it out, and have been causing problems for my parents ever since, and I am not even there!

    It has caused my ailing parents many years of worry. They’ve had to endure random pizza deliveries and other such things.

  • Cyrus

    It is against the law to ask people’s age during interview. On the other hand it is a matter of public record to find that information along many other pieces!
    I see more bad side to the availability of public record than good.
    Internet access to the public records simply has put everyone in risk in various ways.

  • Joe

    Many data aggregators and other have the ability to attain just about anything related to any one indivdual. This needs to be prohibited and aggregators and credit bureaus have to be stopped from selling this data for the sole purpose of monetary gain. All personal information needs to be kept private as this is a direct invasion of privacy which I do not advocate. Although our personal information is available, in most instances you have to pay a third party aggregator to provide this information. What gives them the right. We the public, are all under scrutiny and are just not aware of what information can be attained as I believe it goes much further than just basic information. Anyone who requests our personal information should notify us of the request and have justifiable reason and our permisssion to do so, excluding our ssn, previous address history, perceived friends, relatives, associates or business relationships. Collection agencies owed or collecting monies excluded. Our lives are personal business and should remain as such unless a law enforcement agency is requesting this data. In such cases an individual should be notified as well as any person or entity requesting either my or your personal data in any case. Believe me that nothing is private, right down to your banking information. I suggest to any and everyone to withdraw monies via debit from your accounts locally or every move you make in the use of the card tells a potential and a distorted picture of your actions, habit or assumed affiliations and whereabouts. Tell and request that any cell or phone provider not to include your numbers in any file supplied to a third party without your permission.

  • Liz Smith

    To Consumers:

    I recent received a letter from a company that I know nothing about.

    Demanded money and threating me.

    Send letter to Attorney General in my state.
    But I am writting to the president regarding this matters that our personal informations is everywhere for anyone buy our informations so we can be harrassed.

    What happenned to Declaration of Independence.

    When everyone write to The White House one by one and let see there will be changes.

    I just cannot be the only one.

    Liz

  • Tom

    How the hell can I be a Corrections Officer and work in the local county jail with baby killers and gang bangers who threaten me and my familys lives on a daily basis keep my records private. I have gone to great lenghts to reduce the ammount of information available on us but still their are leaks everywhere. I think that what people need to do is start by not registering to vote . Thats one source people can use to get your personal information, to hell with a goverment who wont protect our privacy. Lets start their. Absolute insanity is what it is. Its all about money thats all it is, and we can’t stop it.

  • Sabastibon

    As for me i ended a bad relationship, this person stalks me and slanders me from info he gained from online, he has broke into my home, his friends threatin me, theres not much i can do i f i move or anything he can go online and get my new info, why does the u.s allow this ??? its criminal and unjustice !

  • Gary Bridgewater

    Simply stated, the personal lives of people is none of your damned business. Don’t like the comment? Sue me.

  • Melanie

    I am very concerned as I randomly check the internet and find that my ex-husband and his new wife are listed as relatives under my name. For one this frustrates me and I get calls constantly from their debtors because they are delinquent on their bills. This is not my problem.

  • officer mommy

    I am a police officer. I have two little girls. You only have to Google my name to find out where we live. If some bitter child molester gets out of jail & wants revenge. He/she can find me. A LOT of people do not like what I do for a living and they can find me. This needs to be stopped…. Now.

  • Eduaord V

    I believe that if we all get together in someway, we can take this to the Supreme Court. Our lives are at risk and this people don’t care about anything else but making the money they ask for the information. Ultimately, the authorities are part negligent for not protecting us. SO I if anyone starts filing lawsuits against those companies putting us in harms way, maybe something will happen. If, anyone has had an experience of life and death because of this situation, file a lawsuit against the Federal Government for not protecting our privacy.

  • Telissa Johnson

    I would like my personal information off the internet while searching…my address and my age and close relative is linked on the internet………VERY VERY DANGER

  • Sean & Shelly Breiten

    We want all of our personal info. Including addresses, age and close relatives off the internet. So the Mother that lost her rightsto her of daughter won’t try to find her. Please removed immediatly.

  • Cindy

    I just check all my info..name , address, age ,social security #,etc,etc..EVERYTHING on this webpage..I am VERY UPSET…everybody wants to charge you separately for deleting info about you online..how can I removed my info from all this pages??

  • Ms. J

    I HAVE BEEN STALKED NUMEROUS TIMES. IM IN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND IT SICKENS ME THAT THERE IS NO WAY TO GET MY INFO OFF THE INTERNET!!!! I HAVE DEALT WITH INMATES AND ARRESTED CRIMINALS AND ALSO HAVE BEEN HARRASSED/STALKED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN MY OFFICE. HE FOUND OUT MY INFO IN THE OFFICE BY JUST KNOWING MY FIRST &LAST NAME!!! THIS HAS TO BE DELETED OFF THE INTERNET AND WEB PAGES SOMEHOW!!!! I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT WHEN I TYPE IN OTHER PEOPLE’S NAMES, THERE INFO DOSEN’T COME UP BUT MINE DOES!!!!!WHAT CAN I DO!!!!

  • Anil

    This is so unbelievable i had a fall out with a friend of a friend who somehow retrieved all of my information online and is now claiming i hit him with my fathers car and tried to sue me but had no evidence other then a hospital bill that was dated two days after he claimed the accident happened and to top it all off i lived and still currently live in New York but have a florida I.D. that registers to my parents house Thank god my father’s insurance company realized he was lying because i had proof i lived here in NY and denied his claim but my point of this story is this could have all been avoided if my family and my information wasn’t so easy to access on the internet!

  • Bitchestrytogetatme

    I met the love of my life with the ex from hell. His daughters mother is the most vindictive manipulative, malicious psycho I ever came across. I never seen her face to face but she threatened to blow my car up and so the state put an order of protection out and once she found out my full name thanks to the ” order of protection” she googled me and got all of my info. She then started calling in fake child abuse cases on me pretending he a neighbor calling anonymous. My home was invaded by case workers and my child was visited at school my neighbors and family also interviewed. Down right embarrassing and All because my private info is once google search away. I even considered changing my freaking name and address to get her off my back. It’s stressing me out! I refuse to register to vote after I change all of my info. Now I have to e plain to my parents that the name they gave me at birth I must change.

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