Removing identifiers from court records is a good thing…Right?
April 16, 2005
WRONG. Many argue in todays day of identity theft that removing identifiers from public records all together is a good thing. The US Senate is conducting hearings on identity theft and many are suggesting that if you don’t allow individuals to see this information we are all protected. This is a slippery slope, the problem is if you remove this information you have no way to identify that the record you are looking at is on the person you are searching.
Lets take an example of John Mohammed, John is looking for a job as a car salesman, after John’s background check is complete the company finds out that he has a 1999 Auto Theft after which he served one year in prison. John’s criminal record shows his full name and date of birth. When John is told he did not get the job because of this he is shocked, his biggest concern is that in 1999 he was serving oversees in Korea.
John Mohammed is a very common name. It just so happens that this record belonged to another person by the same name with the same date of birth. What we need is MORE IDENTIFIERS on court records, this will protect consumers from being accused of crimes they may not have committed.
Some may further argue that John would have been protected becuase of the FCRA and his right to dispute the record and in turn get the job he intended. This may be true, however it does not always happen that way.
Its very important that consumers write to their congressman and senator to let them know that their intentions are good but exceptions must be made.
Recently, Texas almost passed the type of legislation that would limit identifiers on public records. Members of NAPBS were there to stand up and show how this would effect the pre-employment screening industry. Texas considered the issues and it looks like certain information will not be removed!