July 15, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Aspen Daily News "The virtual overthrow of practical obscurity"

Excellent column from the 'Usual Suspect' Dave Danforth today.  Even if it is being pulled from the archives of 2002.

Dave Danforth:
"The truth shall set you free, they say.

So how do you find it?

In Cincinnati, the clerk of the courts figured that all those “public records” — stacks and stacks of paper — should be scanned onto the Internet. The clerk, Jim Cissell, didn’t figure on the reaction.

Among the records available to anyone searching www.courtclerk.org are arrest warrants, dirt-bag dad notes, traffic tickets, divorce proceedings, histories of domestic violence and tax liens. In short, all sorts of dirty laundry.

Inquiring minds wanted to know. One father found out about his son’s traffic ticket. Another citizen reported his social security number stolen because it was listed on a court document. Some papers included drawings of homes — theoretically enabling anyone to figure out where you sleep....."

But what’s the difference between public record gathering dust at the courthouse and one that is electronically available to anyone with a keyboard and web connection?

Plenty, as it turns out. Just because the stuff is “public” doesn’t mean it has to be so easy to get, opponents told the New York Times. Inquiring minds should be forced to break a sweat, the argument goes.

Welcome to the concept of “practical obscurity” — a little-known artifact of law now being dusted off in preparation for what may be dozens of legal fights ahead....."
(Read more?  Click title)

"Unapologetic pursuit and tracking of patterns within news others make since 2010"

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