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Removing personal information from Public Records

July 2nd, 2009 · 5 Comments · News, Using Public Records

We get quite a few comments at the Public Records Free Directory from users who would like to have their personal information removed from public records. The term ‘public record’ means different things to different people, so a little background might be helpful.

In the strictest sense, ‘public records’ refers to those records held by governments that are accessible to the public. Court records, property tax records, deeds and other recorded documents, vital statistics, and business license records are some of the more common types of public records. For the most part, one can not have this type of public record modified or removed. Exceptions include the expunging of a court record.

The whole reason for the existence of the record and the public access to it would be defeated if one could simply opt-out. For example, you’d probably agree that it would not be in the public interest to allow a level 3 sex offender to have their publicly available records modified or removed from public access.

There are many services that obtain public records as described above and ‘add value’ to them by making them easier for you to search and/or by combining records from multiple jurisdictions. There is real value in this type of service, provided that you are diligent about knowing that the scope of data offered meets your needs. None of the services that deal with warehousing government public records are likely to remove any information from thier locally held files that would otherwise be available form the government data source. To do so would compromise the integrity of their service.

Another class of data that is sometimes referred to – incorrectly – as public records are the proprietary databases used by people finder services, web phone directories, search engine directories, and others. These databases are derived from multiple sources including government public records, and other sources that are not in the public domain.

Most of the private database providers have a processes in place to have non-public information removed.

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • unknown

    This is utter bullcrap. It is ridiculously easy for any random Joe to pay some amount less than $100 to access personal information about me, like my phone number. Even if I WAS a sex offender, why would anyone need to call me up and talk to me? For all I know it could be some sex offender who is actually trying to look me up for some crazy fetishy reason. This is NOT safe, regardless of what unfounded arguments you make about public safety.

  • little miss no-name

    In response to “Most of the private database providers have a processes in place to have non-public information removed”. Yes, but at a fee and it has to be done at various intervals (ie every year).
    I wonder how many women have been killed because their abusers were able to locate them for a couple of bucks. How does a woman go about protecting herself and her children from criminals that mean them harm?

  • unknown

    This is an evil world and nobody knows except the wise.Public info. is private info. to me.I am trying to get out of the way of the enemy and keep my family safe.

  • no name

    You would think there would be a way to correct personal information that was entered in error. I do not mind my information to be public. What I do mind is that it is accurate which it is not.

  • Sintia

    I predict public record will provide more harm than goo, People wil get tire of having they info on line and the will Fight Back ……..

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