|The organization is warning county officials of the threat they are exposing their constituents to by placing the records, including the often sensitive information they contain, over such an easily accessible medium.
"The county records have been compiled for the benefit of the communities in which they reside,” said Lynn Hammett, a member of the NALTEA board of directors. “The information they contain has always been available to the general public, and various professionals (attorneys, appraisers, surveyors, title abstractors) have accessed those records on a regular basis to assist with local transactions. The Internet has put local officials in the position of allowing access to local personal information under pressure from national and international corporations who want cheap, easy access to these sensitive records under the label 'public records'. Yes, the records are 'public', but do we really want the 'public' to include the entire world?"
By making the public record available over the Internet, technology has over-reached the original goal of providing the stored data to its primary community. The information is now available to anyone with access to the Internet. Thus, the taxpayers are paying to provide their own information to a larger audience without any regulation of the information contained in those records.
NALTEA releases this statement as concerns continue to mount over the availability of private information over the Internet. With identity theft at an all-time high and continuing to rise, the organization feels it is necessary to address the problems associated with providing so much personal, and often sensitive, data via a medium as unmonitored as the Internet. As companies begin to lock down their own data, thieves are looking for easier accessibility to personal data which can be found on the Internet. NALTEA is opposed to the records being available online because they often contain data, such as mothers’ maiden names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses of crime victims. These documents include, and are not limited to, deeds of trust/mortgages, birth and death records, tax liens, divorce documents, child custody/support and other civil cases.
NALTEA was founded in June 2004 when several committed and dedicated title examiners and abstractors recognized the need for unifying the industry’s members into their own national organization. NALTEA was the first organization developed to address the needs and concerns of those working in an often overlooked arena of the real estate industry. Through its efforts, its members are improving their services and their products through extended marketability and improved industry standards, including the first national abstractor certification program. To learn more about NALTEA, visit the organization’s
Web site at www.naltea.org.
Board Member, NALTEA