Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Identity Theft Legislation: A Good Beginning....More Needs to be Done!

I've been doing the rounds over the past few weeks talking about the Identity Theft Legislation. I'll be blogging more about it in the next few weeks. I truly appreciate all those involved in making something happen. While I'm glad some action has been taken, more work is needed and the public should not get a false sense of security.

In my opinion, the legislation will get at about 1% of the problem. The burden is squarely on the individual to do all the work to get their information redacted, and the elephant in the room are NC Public Records Laws as they relate to the safeguarding personal information as defined in the Identity Theft Legislation. In essence, what tools could officials like Register of Deeds have to proactively "kick butt" by finding the data and helping citizens without potential liability? (Like in some other states like Indiana, Washington, and Florida).

If the SSN is a crowbar for thieves to get personal information, our office is a hardware store. WE NEED TO DO MORE! I don't think the solution is just taking our internet records offline because thousands of law abiding citizens use them for the public good. But I need some more authority!

I'm calling on the Governor, Attorney General, General Assembly and who ever is create an NC Committee on Public Records and Privacy similar to the Committee on Court Records and Privacy in Florida. The Committee should have a number of public and private representatives to come up with recommendations help preserve the integrity of public records law, but give us authority to protect citizens private information in a more practical way.

I have more recommendations to come!


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